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on 21 July 2022

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-11271
Open Date: 20/07/2022 11:37 CEST
Closing Date: 28/09/2022 13:00 CEST

Today, all commercially available space solar cells consistently reach beginning of life (BOL) efficiencies in the order of or slightly above 30%. Best end of life efficiencies have been realized with a 4-junction solar cell "4G32 advanced" reaching an efficiency of 28.7%. Today, there is no commercially available solar cell reaching BOL efficiencies greater than 33%. This demonstrates the challenge to reach the targets set forth for this activity. A completely new approach is therefore needed. For realizing EOL efficiencies beyond 33%, it is inevitable to work also on the remaining factor. That means only materials shall be allowed in the cell concept that can offer very high remaining factors. This might exclude, e.g. (In)GaAs subcells which are the basis of all cell concepts currently investigated and available. Then, such a cell design will most probably only be realizable by a so-called semiconductor bonding technology (SBT) concept which allows for combining multi-junction cells grown on different growth templates into one device. Furthermore, it might require the development of new semiconductor materials, involving upright, inverted, lattice-matched and metamorphic growth. Finally, lift-off and layer transfer processes might be needed as well. Some of those building blocks will have already been brought to a higher maturity level in the currently running TDE activity "Improved multi-junction solar cells with up to 33% efficiency at end of life". However, due to the highly sophisticated concept, dedicated development effort is needed to bring the related technology building blocks to the required maturity level. This activity is the beginning of a completely new development path for a future solar cell generation. The excellent position of Europe being today the supplier of the best in class EOL solar cell is only maintained if technology building blocks that pave the way to future solar cell concepts are readily available.This activity encompasses the following tasks:- Theoretical analysis: how many junctions are needed? Identify minimum performance BOL of each junction and minimum remaining factor EOL.- Identify best suited candidates of semiconductor materials to be incorporated in a new solar cell structure- Develop and manufacture single junction test structures to be irradiated- Determine BOL and EOL (remaining factors) performance of new semiconductor materials- Compare practical results with theoretical study- Manufacture first engineering samples of multi-junction solar cells applying innovative technology building blocks such as SBT, inverted and metamorphic growth.- Identify most promising next solar cell design taking also into account cost/performance metrics.Procurement Policy: C(1) = Activity restricted to non-prime contractors (incl. SMEs). For additional information please go to this link.

Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. Quality
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Franziska Erkelens
Initiating Service: TEC-EPG
IP Measure: C1
Prog. Reference: E/0901-01 - Technology Developme
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 3-B-III-Nuclear and Thermo-Electric Power Generator Technologies
Products Keywords: 2-J-1.1-c-Solar Cells

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