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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K019597/1
Title: High-power, low-weight, flexible thin film photovoltaics for space application
Principal Investigator: Irvine, Professor SJC
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr DA Lamb
Project Partners:
Qioptiq Limited Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
Department: Science Research Centre
Organisation: Glyndwr University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 04 March 2013 Ends: 03 March 2016 Value (£): 331,895
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Jan 2013 Engineering Prioritisation Meeting - 24/25 January 2013 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK has a world class reputation for design and manufacture of space based technologies. A new National Space Academy has been launched this year to help boost the size and quality of the UK's science and engineering expertise. The proposal supports strongly The UK Space Directory, an organisation of eight groups representing and supporting the UK space community and including the Technology Strategy Board that state "the UK Space Industry has come together to propose an ambitious 20 year strategy to capture 10% of the global space market, £40 billion, by 2030 and in doing so create 100,000 UK jobs". The UK houses some of the leading companies in space applications such as; Inmarsat, Rolls Royce, Logica, Vega Space, Astrium, Qioptiq Space Technology and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited. The latter two companies strongly back the research detailed within this proposal and have both provided satements of support.

This proposal seeks to offer an alternative PV technology for large area arrays and to be the first to report thin film cadmium telluride (CdTe) deposited directly onto toughened cerium-doped microsheet glass (CMG), explicitly targeting a significant increase in specific power by a step-change reduction of system weight. The Qioptiq Space Technology CMG microsheet glass is optimised to match the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of gallium arsenide (GaAs) based space solar cells. With the CdTe CTE almost identical to that of GaAs the choice of CMG is ideal for the prevention of delamination under the severe thermal gradients to which space PV is exposed. This adventurous approach, using the CMG as both the radiation barrier and substrate, will be proven by characterisation of 5 x 5 cm2 deposited devices and finally scaled to 10 x 20 cm2 on the Centre for Solar Energy Research (CSER) pilot metalorganic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD) system.

This proposal has the content and vision to make a significant contribution to the UK's flourishin space industry. Key to the success of the project will be the dissemination and pathways to impact of the research outcomes; this will be ensured through regular reporting to and feedback from a steering group of potential exploiters-Industrial experts and through targeted press releases. This proposal offers UK research the chance to impact the space PV market either through licencing of the arising IP and more excitingly in the current economic climate through manufacture of the final product.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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