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Corning Inc. sees potential of solar energy

Post Time:Nov 16,2009Classify:Company NewsView:728

Corning Inc., already a world leader in manufacturing thin glass panels for LCD display systems, is looking to parlay that knowledge into developing a premium glass that can be used in the semiconductor panels that create electricity from sunlight.

The modern age of solar power technology arrived in 1954 when Bell Laboratories accidentally discovered that silicon mixed with certain impurities became very sensitive to light. Bell Labs researchers invented the first practical device for converting sunlight into electricity, which eventually resulted in the solar battery's first practical demonstration in April 1954.

Corning's foray into photovoltaic glass happened in a less direct manner. While studying research papers written by companies that were experimenting in the technology, research scientist Doug Hall, Corning's photovoltaic product technology director, noticed they were already using display glass from Corning.

"It was a pretty obvious wake-up call that maybe we could do something, and it gave some credibility to doing a specialty glass," he said. Photovoltaic panels are typically a semiconductor material sandwiched between two pieces of glass -- usually window glass but in these case, early versions of Corning's LCD display glass.

"We know why they picked it. They wanted a clean surface and in this case, it allowed them to turn up the deposition temperature about 100 degrees more. If they turned up the temperature with window glass, it starts to melt, and this stuff didn't melt," Hall said.

Source: www.theithacajournal.comAuthor: shangyi

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