The inverted metamorphic multijunction (IMM) solar cell, a new class of ultra-light, high-efficiency solar cells developed by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was named a winner of the 2009 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer.
The original IMM cell was invented by Mark Wanlass of NREL's concentrating photovoltaics group. The design established a solar cell efficiency of 37.9% under concentrated light equal to 10 suns in 2005, NREL says. In 2008, a modified version of the IMM design set a new record of 40.8% efficiency under 326 suns at NREL.
Since 2005, NREL and Wanlass have worked with Emcore Corp. of Albuquerque, N.M., to develop a commercial version of the IMM cell under a cooperative research and development agreement.
Commercialized versions of the IMM cell are aimed at the space satellite market and for use on Earth in concentrated photovoltaic arrays, which use lenses or mirrors to focus sunlight onto the solar cells.
SOURCE: National Renewable Energy Laboratory