Solar-Tectic LLC announced recently that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a patent for technology which allows for the growth of single crystal semiconductor films on inexpensive substrates, such as glass. The technology was invented by the late Dr. Praveen Chaudhari, winner of the 1995 US Medal of Technology and Innovation, and has applications in various industries in addition to solar, such as displays and LEDs.
US patent 8,916,455 titled “Method of Growing Heteroepitaxial Single Crystal of Large Grained Semiconductor Films on Glass Substrates and Devices Thereon” promises to solve a long standing challenge in materials science, namely, the growth of single crystal semiconductor films directly on amorphous substrates, such as glass. The technology can be applied using a variety of semiconductor materials such as silicon and germanium.
The inexpensive, low temperature deposition process, involving eutectic alloys, is extremely well suited for large-scale industrial applications and can be carried out using either the common electron-beam (e-beam) method or a laser. The latter approach means that film deposition can take place out of vacuum.
The patent is jointly owned with Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA.