Wednesday, May 27, 2009

LDK Solar - GaAs Wafer Doping.

From LDK's recent Q1 Earnings Conference Call Transcript.

We have also successfully produced Gallium Arsenide doped monocrystalline silicon wafers for customer evaluation during this quarter.

This isn't very much information to go on at all, but it's interesting nonetheless. Here's a brief introduction to GaAs Solar Cells from Sandia Labs.

Researchers are exploring two approaches to lowering the cost of GaAs devices. The first approach is to fabricate GaAs cells on cheaper substrates like silicon or germanium, rather than on the more expensive GaAs substrates.

Well, this certainly seems to be suggestive of what LDK is working on here. Now, whether they are actually in some way doping their Silicon Wafers, whether they are doing as the Sandia article suggests and laying down a buffer layer of GaAs on top of their Silicon Wafers in preparation for the Cellmaker to deposit the active GaAs Cell, or whether they are doing something entirely different, is unknown. The future potential, though, is attractive, particularly since GaAs Cells can achieve 25% and up in Conversion Efficiency, and are largely Temperature Independent. Gallium, however, is very limited in abundance, and quite expensive, so the key will be to use very little of it.

This will be an interesting one to watch unfold. Who are the customers? What kind of scale are they talking about? I look forward to some of these answers.

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