The ultra-high-efficiency, extremely lightweight cells that can be created using this technology are potentially beneficial to NASA for any space-based application in which weight, efficiency, and reliability are of the utmost importance. In particular, next-generation solar electric propulsion (SEP) systems which rely on extremely large arrays of powerful solar cells stand to benefit substantially from the improvements offered by this technology.
The proposed technology will allow next-generation solar cells exceeding 40% AM0 efficiency to be made commercially available. This process is compatible with MicroLink's existing epitaxial lift-off (ELO) technology which means they can also be made exceptionally light-weight. Non-NASA potential customers include makers of UAVs, such as Aerovironment, Aurora Flight Sciences, and EADS-Astrium, who could use the cells to substantially increase the endurance of the UAV. High-efficiency is particularly critical to UAV applications as the are available for solar cells is limited to the wing surface of the vehicle. Weight is another critical consideration for UAVs as the additional weight of the solar cells limits the advantage gained by using them. Another category of potential customers includes companies such as Power Film who make solar sheets and solar blankets for collection of solar energy for high value terrestrial applications.