Patents Examined by Aaron Weisstuch
  • Patent number: 6541695
    Abstract: A thin film, photovoltaic, solar energy conversion device comprising: a thin-film, photovoltaic layer; a transparent electrical conducting layer in contact with said photovoltaic layer; a back electrical conducting layer in contact with said photovoltaic layer; fabricated on a suitable substrate; said photovoltaic layer being of a material selected from the class consisting of: monoclinic zinc diphosphide (also referred to as beta zinc diphosphide and indicated by &bgr;-ZnP2); copper diphosphide (CuP2); magnesium tetraphosphide (MgP4); gamma-iron tetraphosphide (&ggr;-FeP4) and mixed crystals formed from these four materials. A thin film fabrication process is presented that produces high efficiency, low-cost photovoltaic layers of the above-indicated class.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 1992
    Date of Patent: April 1, 2003
    Inventor: Thomas Mowles
  • Patent number: 6084175
    Abstract: Textured semi-conductor devices, such as macro textured buried-contact solar cells, are produced with special front contact trenches to increase efficiency and decrease costs. In order to produce the front contact trenches, front channels and narrower metallization grooves are cut in the semi-conductor body. The front contact trenches are plated to form attractive conductive buried contacts comprising flush metallization fingers and bus bars.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 14, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2000
    Assignee: Amoco/Enron Solar
    Inventors: James M. Perry, Srinvasamohan Narayanan, John H. Wohlgemuth, Steven P. Roncin
  • Patent number: 5902416
    Abstract: The invention relates to an element, and a method for making the element, of a photovoltaic solar cell with an elongated, rod-like, wire-like, thread-like, or band-like electrode, which is provided on its surface with at least one photovoltaically active coating and is characterized in that the electrode consists of an electrically conductive material, in particular of impure silicon having a poly-crystalline, or a mono-crystalline structure and the coating consists of a mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline photovoltaically active material on the surface of the electrode, said material preferably being silicon having a certain doping (p- or n-doping), which, for instance, is applied continuously by means of a drawing plate or die.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 1994
    Date of Patent: May 11, 1999
    Assignee: Twin Solar-Technik Entwicklungs-GmbH
    Inventors: Ralf M. Kern, Helmut Hoegl
  • Patent number: 5877418
    Abstract: An apparatus for demonstrating the conversion of solar energy to mechanical energy, the apparatus comprising:a solar energy device which collects and converts solar energy to electrical energy;a motor connected to the solar energy device for receiving electrical energy therefrom, the motor having a rotatable shaft which is rotatably drivable by the received electrical energy;wherein the motor is fixedly connected to a portable platform having a pair of hand grip surfaces spaced a selected straight line distance apart from each other;wherein a tube or rod having a longitudinal axis is fixedly connected or interconnected at an end thereof to the drive shaft of the motor such that the tube or rod is rotatably drivable around its longitudinal axis; andwherein the tube or rod is fixedly connected or interconnected to the drive shaft of the motor such that the longitudinal axis of the tube or rod is oriented approximately perpendicular to the straight line distance between the hand grip surfaces of the platform.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 1996
    Date of Patent: March 2, 1999
    Inventor: Clyde R. Weihe
  • Patent number: 5863354
    Abstract: Thin-film photoelectric conversion elements are spaced from each other on an insulating belt-like film. Respective common conductive tapes are soldered to the terminal electrodes of the elements at the two edges of the film. The common conductive tape is in contact with non-adhesive resin in gap portions between adjacent photoelectric conversion elements. For forming a module, the assembly can be cut at these portions, followed by removal of the non-adhesive resin to expose the common conductive tape for external connection of the module.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 1996
    Date of Patent: January 26, 1999
    Assignee: Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Takashi Yoshida
  • Patent number: 5851310
    Abstract: An indium phosphide photovoltaic cell is provided where one or more quantum wells are introduced between the conventional p-conductivity and n-conductivity indium phosphide layer. The approach allows the cell to convert the light over a wider range of wavelengths than a conventional single junction cell and in particular convert efficiently transparency losses of the indium phosphide conventional cell. The approach hence may be used to increase the cell current output.A method of fabrication of photovoltaic devices is provided where ternary InAsP and InGaAs alloys are used as well material in the quantum well region and results in an increase of the cell current output.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 22, 1998
    Assignee: University of Houston
    Inventors: Alexandre Freundlich, Philippe Renaud, Mauro Francisco Vilela, Abdelhak Bensaoula
  • Patent number: 5849107
    Abstract: A solar cell module in which the reduction in conversion efficiency is small, and a passive solar heating system using the solar cell module. The solar cell module has a solar cell covered with a filler. A back reinforcement member, the filler and a back insulating member larger than the solar cell are superposed on the non-light-receiving side of the solar cell. The back insulating member has openings corresponding to pierced portions of the solar cell module at which the solar cell module is affixed to a roof. A greater amount of clean energy is obtained with the system. The solar cell is used without any additional base to limit the reduction in the conversion efficiency of the solar cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 1996
    Date of Patent: December 15, 1998
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Shigenori Itoyama, Kimitoshi Fukae, Masahiro Mori, Yuji Inoue, Fumitaka Toyomura, Takashi Ohtsuka
  • Patent number: 5843289
    Abstract: A method of obtaining a porous titanium surface suitable for medical implants is provided. The titanium surface is exposed to a plasma comprising a reactive plasma gas, the reactive plasma gas comprising an active etching species and a sputtering gas. The plasma conditions are effective to modify the titanium surface and provide surface porosity. The plasma conditions are effective to non-uniformly etch and sputter the titanium surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 1996
    Date of Patent: December 1, 1998
    Assignee: Etex Corporation
    Inventors: Dosuk D. Lee, Atul Nagras
  • Patent number: 5830331
    Abstract: A hydrogenated carbon film for magnetic thin film recording media is manufactured by alternating current magnetron sputtering in an atmosphere containing argon and a hydrocarbon gas. Targets mounted side-by-side cyclically sputter and discharge charge buildup according to an alternating current. Shielding between the targets directs electrons toward the anode at a given time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 3, 1998
    Assignee: Seagate Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Taesun E. Kim, Hyung J. Lee, Yao-Tzung R. Shih, John C. Bruno, Robert B. Zubeck, Dennis R. Hollars
  • Patent number: 5830779
    Abstract: A photovoltaic module that serves as a shingle, tile or other building material that may be placed onto the exterior of a structure. The photovoltaic module generates a voltage when exposed to light and this voltage may be directed onto transmission lines of a power utility and/or into an external battery that may serve as a source of power for the building on which the photovoltaic shingles are laid. The practice of the present invention provides for a variety of mechanical and electrical connectors for securing together the photovoltaic modules and/or for connecting the photovoltaic modules to the exterior structure. Furthermore, the structure of the modules is such that the modules are automatically electrically connected together when laid on the building.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 6, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 3, 1998
    Assignee: Bressler Group Inc.
    Inventors: Peter W. Bressler, John D. Coleman
  • Patent number: 5800630
    Abstract: A monolithic, tandem photovoltaic device is provided having an indium phosphide tunnel junction lattice-matched to adjoining subcells and having high peak current densities and low electrical resistance. A method is provided for relatively low-temperature epitaxial growth of a tunnel junction and a subcell over the tunnel junction at temperatures which leave intact the desirable characteristics of the tunnel junction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 5, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 1, 1998
    Assignee: University of Houston
    Inventors: Mauro F. Vilela, Abdelhak Bensaoula, Alexandre Freundlich, Philippe Renaud, Nasr-Eddine Medelci
  • Patent number: 5797997
    Abstract: A thermophotovoltaic (TPV) system converts thermal or radiant heat into oxygen and electricity for use in a variety of applications. The TPV system and method for efficiently generating-oxygen and electric power through the combustion of fossil fuels with little or no nitrogen oxides or other undesirable combustion by-products. Combustion temperatures are kept at about 1,700.degree. C. or lower while burning a reactant mixture having an air/fuel ratio of greater than about 3:1. Heat from combustion products can be recycled and recuperated without concern for excessive increases in combustion temperature and subsequent combustor/emitter degradation. The generated oxygen may be harvested for commercial use as well as for introduction back into the TPV system.As a by-product of this improved TPV system, we have discovered an inexpensive, environmentally-friendly, and commercially viable method for generating pure oxygen molecules and electricity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 25, 1998
    Inventor: Darryl L. Noreen
  • Patent number: 5798284
    Abstract: Disclosed is a process for fabricating an array of photovoltaic elements connected in series, which can be used as a high-efficiency solar battery, at low cost and with high reliability. The process for fabricating the array of photovoltaic elements connected in series is characterized in that a step (.alpha.) for forming insulating strips of second electrode material is carried out by immersing in a solution a substrate having a first electrode thereon, and on which the second electrode is deposited, and an opposed electrode of a concentrated electric field type positioned opposite the surface of the second electrode in the vicinity thereof and applying a voltage between the first electrode and the opposed electrode. Further, it is characterized in that a step (.beta.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 25, 1998
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Katsumi Nakagawa
  • Patent number: 5792324
    Abstract: A method of forming a thin film using a sputtering apparatus having a chamber, includes the steps of providing a target and a wafer in the chamber, and providing an inert gas to form atomized target material, a reactive etching gas for reacting with the target to form a molecular by-product, and a reactive sputter gas for reacting with the atomized target material and the molecular by-product to form a thin film on the wafer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 11, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 11, 1998
    Assignee: LG Semicon Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Jeong-Min Seon
  • Patent number: 5785828
    Abstract: A sputtering target for fabricating a recording layer of a phase-change type optical recording medium contains a compound or mixture including as constituent elements Ag, In, Te and Sb with the respective atomic percent (atom.%) of .alpha., .beta., .gamma.and .delta.thereof being in the relationship of 2.ltoreq..alpha..ltoreq.30, 3.ltoreq..beta..ltoreq.30, 10.ltoreq..gamma..ltoreq.50, 15.ltoreq..delta..ltoreq.83 and .alpha.+.beta.+.gamma.+.delta.=100, and a method of producing the above sputtering target is provided. A phase-change type optical recording medium includes a recording layer containing as constituent elements Ag, In, Te and Sb with the respective atomic percent of .alpha., .beta., .gamma.and .delta.thereof being in the relationship of 0<.alpha..ltoreq.30, 0<.beta..ltoreq.30, 10.ltoreq..gamma..ltoreq.50, 10.ltoreq..delta..ltoreq.80, and .alpha.+.beta.+.gamma.+.delta.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 28, 1998
    Assignee: Ricoh Company, Ltd.
    Inventors: Katsuyuki Yamada, Hiroko Iwasaki, Yukio Ide, Makoto Harigaya, Yoshiyuki Kageyama, Hiroshi Deguchi, Masaetsu Takahashi, Yoshitaka Hayashi
  • Patent number: 5785769
    Abstract: A substrate for a photovoltaic device wherein the substrate is the base upon which photosensitive material is to be grown and the substrate comprises an alloy having boron in a range from 0.1 atomic % of the alloy to 1.3 atomic % of the alloy and the substrate has a resistivity less than 3.times.10.sup.-3 ohm-cm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 27, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 28, 1998
    Assignee: Midwest Research Institute
    Inventor: Theodore F. Ciszek
  • Patent number: 5782995
    Abstract: A screening layer is disposed on the front side of a solar battery to diffuse reflected light from the solar battery so as to reduce the quantity of light traveling outward from the front side of the solar battery. The screening layer prevents the reflected light from traveling outward so that the solar battery disposed on the back side thereof is concealed from view. An optical member is disposed on the front side of the screening layer to transmit light of wavelengths in a predetermined wavelength range included in the light incident the front surface thereof at a predetermined transmittance, and a diffusing layer is disposed on the front side of the optical member to diffuse reflected light from the optical member in nondirectional, soft light rays.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 21, 1998
    Assignee: Citizen Watch Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Takanori Nanya, Yasushi Murata
  • Patent number: 5783049
    Abstract: An improved way to impart antireflection properties to light transmissive substrates and, at the same time, achieve a durable surface and electrical conductivity is disclosed. A stack of at least two sputter-deposited light transmissive inorganic layers, one of which being electrically conductive and having a high index of refraction with the one above it (relative to the substrate being antireflected) having a low index of refraction, in combination with a thin lubricating overlayer comprising a solvent-soluble lubricant such as a solvent-soluble fluoropolymer can achieve this desired combination of properties.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 21, 1998
    Assignee: Southwall Technologies Inc.
    Inventors: Clark I. Bright, F. Eugene Woodard, Steven J. Pace, Julius G. Kozak
  • Patent number: 5772791
    Abstract: A solar power plant consists of a multitude of elongated concentrator channels floating on a layer of water, and being covered by linear lenses, which concentrate the solar rays onto photovoltaic cells. These photovoltaic cells are in good heat conducting contact with one vertical wall-element of the concentrator channels near its deepest point, therefore the wedges of rays are penetrating only a triangular portion of the enclosed space, the remaining triangular portion being used as a passage for ambient air which extracts the stored waste heat of the photovoltaic cells from the water layer. There are mechanical means to turn the concentrator channels around a center bearing in such a way that they run parallel to the direction of the wind.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 17, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 30, 1998
    Inventor: Johannes Nikolaus Laing
  • Patent number: 5770463
    Abstract: A photovoltaic device, such as a solar cell, of improved photoelectric conversion efficiency and improved reliability is provided with a metal layer, a transparent layer formed on the metal layer, and a semiconductor layer formed n the transparent layer and capable of photoelectric conversion. The metal layer is composed of aluminum containing silicon, copper, zinc and/or manganese, or of copper containing silicon, aluminum, zinc, tin and/or beryllium.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 20, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 23, 1998
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Katsumi Nakagawa, Noboru Toyama