Traditional solar panels used to power satellites can be bulky with heavy panels folded together using mechanical hinges. Smaller and lighter than traditional solar panels, flexible solar array consists of a flexible material containing photovoltaic cells to convert light into electricity. Being flexible, the solar array could roll or snap using carbon fiber composite booms to deploy solar panels without the aid of motors, making it lighter and less expensive than current solar array designs.
On the other hand, satellite trends are shifting away from one-time stints and moving towards more regular use in a constellation setting. In the last years, the desire increased to mass-produce low-weight satellites. Photovoltaic arrays companies are challenged on their capacity to face these new needs in terms of production capacity and versatility. And this is exactly where space photovoltaics can learn from terrestrial photovoltaics where this mass production and low-cost shift occurred years ago.
To tackle these new challenges, the Liten institute started to work on these topics two years ago. In the frame of this post-doc, we propose the candidate to work on the development of an innovative flexible solar panel architecture, using high throughput assembly processes. We are looking for a candidate with a strong experience in polymers and polymers processing, along with an experience in mechanics. A previous experience in photovoltaic will be greatly appreciated.