Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel

no larger than 10 square centimeters and achieve 1012 cycles without fatigue or creep. “That,” he said,” was a typical example of Development-on-Demand CMORE activity.”

IMEC has several major application programs under the “More than Moore” umbrella that build on its expertise in semiconductors. These include

• Communications technologies: Cognitive reconfigurable radio and >60GHz communication, and ULP-Radio;

• Biomedical electronics: wearable health and comfort monitoring; brain-IC interfaces/neuro-electronics; smart implants and biosensor technology based on nanotechnologies;

• A new Center for Neuro-Electronics Research/Flanders (NERF), part of a new interdisciplinary research center for the integration of neuroscience and neuro-electronics & clinical experimental neurosurgery. NERF is hosted at IMEC; and

• Energy: PV, GaN/Si for power switching and solid-state lighting.

IMEC’s Solar Research

“Indeed, IMEC has a substantial PV program as well, and the workhorse of the program is silicon PV for the reason that we have a lot of expertise in silicon and that there is still a lot of room for improvement,” noted Mr. Van Helleputte. “And we do believe that there is room for both thin-film and crystalline silicon in the future. Companies like First Solar, will push toward a further acceleration of the PV roadmap and IMEC will gladly respond to such a challenge.” IMEC also has an activity with organic PV and with highly efficient PV stacks for solar concentration. The IMEC program on crystalline silicon PV research has a number of research modules, with two major themes: One is a wafer-based approach, and the second explores epitaxial thin film on silicon. They are experimenting as well with new ways to produce ultrathin wafers without the kerf losses incurred in cutting ingots. These are called stress-induced lift-off methods (SLIM) where the active wafer is lifted off a substrate rather than cut.

Finally, IMEC is experimenting with a stacked approach for concentrator solar cells (CPV) as an alternative to monolithic approaches. In this design, each layered cell absorbs a part of the light spectrum, not all of it, combining its contribution with those of the other cells. “It is more complex,” he said, “but it avoids some technical drawbacks of the monolithic approach (such as tunnel junctions and current matching), and may increase conversion efficiency and energy yield, although this has not yet been proved in a total system approach.”

Mr. Van Helleputte concluded by mentioning the Solar Europe Industrial Initiative, which has included on its roadmap the goal of meeting 12 percent of electricity demand from PV sources by 2020. “To accomplish this,” he said, “Europe would have to develop about 350 gigawatts of PV capacity.” “And it also

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement