NREL Paves the Way to Commercialization of Silicon Ink (Fact Sheet)

Karen Atkison

    Research output: NRELFact Sheet


    In 2008, Innovalight, a start-up company in Sunnyvale, California, invented a liquid form of silicon, called Silicon Ink. It contains silicon nanoparticles that are suspended evenly within the solution. Those nanoparticles contain dopant atoms that can be driven into silicon solar cells, which changes the conductivity of the silicon and creates the internal electric fields that are needed to turnphotons into electrons -- and thus into electricity. The ink is applied with a standard screen printer, already commonly used in the solar industry. The distinguishing feature of Silicon Ink is that it can be distributed in exact concentrations in precisely the correct locations on the surface of the solar cell. This allows most of the surface to be lightly doped, enhancing its response to bluelight, while heavily doping the area around the electrical contacts, raising the conductivity in that area to allow the contact to work more efficiently. The accuracy and uniformity of the ink distribution allows the production of solar cells that achieve higher power production at a minimal additional cost.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages2
    StatePublished - 2012

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/FS-6A42-53611


    • Dupont
    • Innovalight
    • nanoparticles
    • nanotechnology
    • selective emitter
    • silicon ink
    • solar cells
    • spectrum of clean energy innovations


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