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Sol Chip to integrate solar conversion, logic circuits

Posted: 06 Sep 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar energy conversion? logic circuits? EPROMs?

Sol Chip Ltd. has raised an additional $1 million for its development fund for technology which will integrate solar energy conversion with logic circuits.

The company is planning to manufacture its chips before the end of 2012, creating circuits that can be used to recharge the batteries of mobile and off-grid devices, extending battery life and equipment independence. Half of the funds has been gathered from the Keret program of the state-owned electricity generation and distribution firm Israel Electric Corp. and half from a New York investment bank and private investors.

Sol Chip had previously raised more than $1 million from the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Israeli government and incubator organization Trendlines International Ltd.

Sol Chip, founded in 2009, is not the only company pursuing this technology. ActLight SA is using CMOS wafers to integrate large numbers of small solar cells with logic in a chip-like component. However, SolChip could be the first to market the technology.

The company is transferring its technology to a Fraunhofer Institute site in Germany, which will provide production for hundreds of thousands of units, following the success of reliability tests. Sol Chip is getting ready to provide its first chips to customers before the end of 2012.

Zack Sharon, sales and marketing director confirmed that Sol Chip is developing monolithically integrated solar conversion and logic circuits. The die will be packaged in standard packages with a transparent window such as would have been used for UV-erasable EPROMs in the past.

"The result is that any low power VLSI device will be able to harvest energy for autonomous sustainable maintenance free operation," Sharon stated.

"The first product will be an energy harvester with unique features such as several voltage levels at its outputs, up to 8.4V. This component will provide power during light time (outdoor or indoor). With simple addition of few passive components, the device can provide power 24 hours a day and enable maintenance free energy for many applications for over 10 years. Examples of applications are agriculture sensors for drip irrigation, herd management and livestock wireless sensors, security wireless sensors, structural health sensors and many more."

The designs are being created in relatively relaxed geometry rules but could be implemented in any technology from 0.35?m down to the leading-edge at 28-nm, said Sharon.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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