SolFocus: Focused on System Economics

September 23, 2010

At Tuesday’s IEEE Nanotechnology Forum, Phil Metz, Director of Business Development for SolFocus, discussed their technology in his presentation “SolFocus Concentrator Photovoltaics – An Introduction“. Though I enjoyed learning about their concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology (the presentation was appropriately focused for the audience), I had a greater appreciation for their integrated system approach including the economics. This was evident in the non-technical details he shared. As an early adopter with a residential photovoltaic (PV) system, I was surprised when comparing systems beyond the core technology.

Both CPV and PV systems convert the energy radiated from the sun to direct current (DC) power. Most “grid tie” systems then use an inverter to convert the DC power to alternating current (AC) power which is then fed into the power grid. Beyond these basic similarities, there are large differences in technology, complexity, and economics between the systems.

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SEMICON West: What a difference a year makes

July 22, 2010

Last week I was very busy visiting the combined SEMICON West and Intersolar North America trade shows in San Francisco. I had numerous meetings in addition to visiting the show floors and attending the excellent presentations. Based upon the lackluster show last year – I’ve heard some use “abysmal” to describe it – I almost hesitated to attend.

I’m happy to report that this year’s show was significantly better with a much more positive attitude and energy. SEMI’s preliminary attendance figure (for the combined show) is 29,461 which is up 32% from last year’s 17,048 verified attendance. This is significantly higher than both organizers expected. Intersolar had expected 1,600 visitors but had over twice as many. (The final numbers will be out in about two weeks in the “Post Show” report.)

Having attended for more than 15 years, Read the rest of this entry »


IEEE Semiconductor Wafer Test Workshop – Opening Session (Sunday)

June 6, 2010

The 20th annual IEEE Semiconductor Wafer Test Workshop (SWTW) started this evening. Rumor has it that attendance is over 240 this year which is a vast improvement over last year’s 160 or so attendees. At the peak the conference had almost hit 600. Things started off well with a reception where I had the chance to catch up with many industry friends and colleagues.

After dinner, Jerry Broz the General Chair kicked things off with the “Probe Year in Review”. In summary:
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IEEE Nanotechnology Symposium – Session 7 – Nano-Enabled Energy II

May 21, 2010


Here are the highlights from Session 7 – Nano-Enabled Energy II from day two of the IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Nanotechnology Council 6th Annual Symposium“Nanotechnology: State of the Art & Applications”

Presentation archive for talks not linked below. Updated as the council receives the presentations.

Dr. David Predergast, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Molecular Foundry, “Nature of Nano-Scale Interfaces and Mechanisms for Solar Energy Conversion.”


IEEE Nanotechnology Symposium – Session 6 – Nano-Electronics

May 21, 2010


Here are the highlights from Session 6 – Nano-Electronics from day two of the IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Nanotechnology Council 6th Annual Symposium“Nanotechnology: State of the Art & Applications”

Note: I will post the the link for the slides once it becomes available.

Vijendra Sahi, VP Corporate Development and GM of the QD Soleil division, Nanosys, Inc.

“From Concept to Creation: The Journey from R&D to Everyday Products.”


IEEE Nanotechnology Symposium – Session 4 – Nano Materials

May 19, 2010

Here are the highlights from Session 4 – Nano Materials from day two of the IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Nanotechnology Council 6th Annual Symposium“Nanotechnology: State of the Art & Applications”

Presentation archive for talks not linked below. Updated as the council receives the presentations.

Eric Granstrom, General Manager and V.P. of R&D, Cima NanoTech – “Self Aligning Nano Technology for Electronics.”

  • First product Self Aligning Nano Technology for Transparent Electronics (SANTE) is transparent conductive film produced by self aligning silver nanoparticles.
  • For the same transparency, it has 1/10 the resistance of Indium Tin Oxide (ITO).  Also doesn’t yellow shift the color.
  • Based upon current consumption, it is projected that there is only a 7 year supply of ITO.  China controls 80% of this supply.
  • Largest initial market is displays which have one or more (LCDs have two) conductive films.
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IEEE Nanotechnology Symposium – Day One (Sessions 1 – 3)

May 18, 2010

Here are today’s highlights from the IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Nanotechnology Council 6th Annual Symposium“Nanotechnology: State of the Art & Applications”

Presentation archive for talks not linked below. Updated as the council receives the presentations.

Dr. Michael Liehr, VP Strategy CNSE Albany, “State of US Nanotech.

  • College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CSNE).  Not organized around traditional degrees (ME, EE, Chem-E, etc.) but around nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience, & nanofinance.
  • Due to R&D increasing as a percentage of revenue, very few companies will be able to continue making the investments in process development on their own.  Therefore, over time there will be a migration to 2 or 3 technology clusters (or “camps”) worldwide.
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