Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Fraunhofer researchers receive the Franco-German Business Award 2011

Fraunhofer researchers have teamed up with their French colleagues at the Carnot-Institut Laboratoire d‘électronique des technologies de l‘information CEA-LETI to develop reusable substrates for III-V multi-junction solar cells – and on December 5, 2011, were presented with the Franco German Business Award for their work.

The photovoltaics industry is booming – more and more solar modules are appearing on rooftops, and even large-scale solar power plants are increasingly feeding power into the grid. Multi-junction solar cells are particularly efficient in this regard: they can achieve efficiencies of up to 43 percent - twice the level of conventional solar cells made of crystalline silicon.

The trick: they consist of several semi-conductor layers that combine to transform the entire spectrum of sunlight into electrical energy. This technology is used in concentrator photovoltaics. There, lenses focus the light of the sun 500 times onto tiny solar cells. These concentrator systems produce solar electricity on a large scale, particularly in solar power plants located in areas rich in sunlight. Among the producers of these plants is SOITEC Solar GmbH, in Freiburg, Germany, a former spinoff of the Fraunhofer Institute or Solar Energy Systems ISE.

The multi-junction solar cells themselves consist of some 30 semi-conductor layers built up, layer for layer, on ultra-pure crystals of germanium or gallium arsenide. These materials are very costly, however. In a joint Franco-German project, researchers at ISE in Freiburg and their colleagues from the Carnot-Institut Laboratoire d‘électronique des technologies de l‘information CEA-LETI in Grenoble, France, are working to develop new substrates for multi-junction solar cells. The new technology replaces the expensive materials with reusable substrates. Whereas up until now the solar cells had to remain in place atop the germanium or gallium arsenide crystals, the solar cells are now removable from the new substrate which is recycled several times. This way, the cost of producing solar cells can be reduced by up to 20 percent.

„In the Solar-Bond project, two high-tech institutes have combined their skills,“ according to Dr. Frank Dimroth, Head of Department III-V - Epitaxy and Solar Cells at Fraunhofer ISE. „CEA-LETI is a leader in the microelectronics field and Fraunhofer ISE in photovoltaics.“ The French colleagues develop the substrate and adapt its properties to the requirements involved in growing multi-junction solar cells; the German scientists then apply the solar cells to these substrates and process them to create ready-to-use devices. The researchers are also working closely with SOITEC, a French company: in the future, the new solar cells will be used in their concentrator modules.

The scientists were honored for their international research on December 5, 2011, in Paris with the Franco-German Business Award 2011, presented by the Franco-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry AHK. The business award is presented in recognition of best practices over the past two years. Patrons of the award are the French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry, François Baroin; and the German Federal Minister for Economics and Technology, Dr. Philipp Rösler.

SOLARBOND is one of 26 projects sponsored under the Inter Carnot Fraunhofer program ( The purpose of this program jointly run by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, Fraunhofer and The French National Research Agency is to establish strategic partnerships between French and German research and industrial organizations.

Karin Schneider | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:

More articles from Awards Funding:

nachricht Changing the Energy Landscape: Affordable Electricity for All
20.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht Emmy Noether junior research group investigates new magnetic structures for spintronics applications
11.10.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>