The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) included more patents to the license of Natcore Technology according to which, Natcore will produce and market an assortment of black silicon products. Black silicon is the discernible color on the surface of the silicon wafer subsequent to it being etched with nano-scale pores. The black color is due to the absence of reflection from the porous wafer surface.
Natcore’s antireflective coating procedure begins with nanoscale pores being etched into the coated, textured silicon wafer surface, using gold or silver nanoparticles by immersing the wafer in liquid at room temperature for a few minutes. Then, Natcore scientists fill the pores and coat them with silicon dioxide using the organization’s liquid phase deposition procedure. This combined step both coats and passivates, allowing lower reflectance.
Natcore President and CEO Chuck Provini pointed out that since copper costs less than the precious metals, Natcore would probably be able to halve the cost and raise the output of solar cells as per the new patent. Natcore scientists have come up with a black coating for the silicon wafer with an average reflectance of 0.3% in the visible and near-infrared region of the solar spectrum, which makes it the “blackest” silicon solar cell surface on record. Natcore calls this surface “absolute black”.
The initial NREL-Natcore license was awarded in December 2011. The two organizations have also entered a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to generate commercial models that represent NREL’s black silicon inventions.
NREL is the principal laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development of the U.S. Department of Energy. NREL is run for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC.