Nanotube enhanced Solar Energy at top of Massachusetts firm’s investment plan
AMBIT Corporation announces Solar Energy Initiative
Ashland, MA | Posted on April 26, 2006
AMBIT Corporation announced today that it will form a new business group to oversee accelerated investment in its Carbon Nanotube Solar Energy Technology. Carbon nanotubes are tiny cylinders of carbon that can be used as lightwave antennas to boost the performance of silicon solar cells.
AMBIT Corporation, a technology development firm founded by inventors Robert J. Crowley and Donald N. Halgren, has already been awarded three U.S. patents and has additional patents pending for its novel nanotube array technology that can be used for light harvesting, optical detectors, nanotube memory, and other applications. "The climate for investments in advanced solar energy is favorable for further development of AMBIT's patented nanotube-on-silicon technology, which can boost the efficiency of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity" said AMBIT Co-founder Robert J Crowley, who formed AMBIT with Halgren in 1993.
A view of AMBIT Corporation's carbon nanotube array of over a billion carbon nanotubes on a silicon solar cell measuring less than 8mm long. The company claims its invention may boost solar cell efficiencies by up to 18%. The bright colors are caused by the interaction of light with the nanotubes, which act like antennas.
Copyright © AMBIT Corporation
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Crowley, who previously served as director of R&D at Boston Scientific's Imaging and Sensing Lab, where his group developed intravascular ultrasound and optical biopsy platforms for visualizing diseases, says that AMBIT's mission is focused on the nearest commercial applications of carbon-nanotube-on- silicon technology demonstrated at their Massachusetts laboratory. "We are currently observing phenomena that could mean a significant improvement in the ability of solar cells to use the entire solar spectrum. These cells are presently most sensitive to the blue portion of the spectrum, and by adding nanotubes we might also generate more electricity from the red and infrared spectrum" said Crowley, who describes the invention as "commercially important to energy applications involving solar array technology on silicon and also on various substrates, such as sol-gel, and others."
Crowley, along with Halgren and New Business VP Robert Arcangeli, are working to accelerate the investment in this area through private sources and through corporate investments from manufacturers of existing solar cell technology. "We'd like to move the development effort to a major lab" remarked Arcangeli, "where the necessary resources and associated silicon processing technology already exist. Our current laboratory is involved in sensor applications and developing other manufacturable products, such as actuators for switching and memory applications." Despite AMBIT Corporation's modest size, the firm is serious about making and selling what it invents. Remarked Crowley: "We are already manufacturing and selling products that use our proprietary process capabilities, and working with sister company Soundwave Research Laboratories, Inc (www.soundwaveresearch.com) to commercialize sensors used in medical ultrasound and music recording. In addition, we have successfully licensed antenna-related technology to other manufacturers and developers such as Natural Nano (www.naturalnano.com) and Nokia, a builder of cellular handsets."