MicroLink Devices, a leader in the production of high-efficiency, flexible solar arrays for satellite and aircraft, announced today that it has completed delivery of its first production contract of solar arrays to Prismatic Ltd. for integration into their PHASA-35 high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (HALE UAV). These lightweight, flexible solar arrays have the highest specific power of any solar technology and enable the PHASA-35 to fly for months at a time powered by sunlight alone.
The solar cells incorporate three semiconductor materials with different bandgaps in a single, ultra-thin and lightweight structure that enables greater than 30% of the sunlight to be converted into electrical energy. This high conversion efficiency has previously only been available for high-cost satellites using rigid and heavy solar cells. MicroLink’s patented inverted metamorphic multijunction (IMM) technology enables the manufacture of high efficiency devices in a thin and flexible format that produces over 2.0 kW of power from each kilogram of solar cell material.
“Solar powered HALE UAVs rely on the ability to transform as much power from the sun as possible on the limited areas of the wing and to do this with the minimal amount of weight,” explained Prismatic’s CTO, Dr. Darryl Sergison, “The triple junction structure enables effective partitioning of the solar spectrum for energy conversion whilst MicroLink’s lightweight design has proven itself to minimise the mass of this power generation.”
Dr. Noren Pan, President of MicroLink Devices noted the synergy of MicroLink’s technology with HALE UAV requirements, “Our proprietary solar cell technology provides unrivalled efficiency and low mass, which is critical in ensuring that these new HALE UAV systems can deliver the highest level of performance year-round over the widest possible markets. MicroLink is well-positioned to scale up the production of IMM solar cells to support the exciting emerging markets enabled by HALE UAV over the next few years.”