MicroLink Devices has delivered the first solar arrays for integration into the new Persistent High Altitude Solar Aircraft (PHASA)-35 high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (HALE UAV).

The lightweight and flexible solar arrays were handed over to Prismatic. Last year, the company signed an agreement with BAE Systems to develop the new solar-powered HALE UAV.

The solar arrays are designed to convert sunlight into electrical energy, which will potentially enable the PHASA-35 aircraft to fly for up to 12 months powered by solar energy alone.

Featuring three semiconductor materials with different bandgaps, the solar cells are produced in a single, ultra-thin format using MicroLink’s patented inverted metamorphic multijunction (IMM) technology.

Covid-19 Report — Updated twice a week Understanding the Covid-19 outbreak, the economic impact and implications for specific sectors

Covid-19 executive briefing report cover

Our parent business intelligence company

MicroLink Devices president Dr Noren Pan said: “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.”

The company’s IMM technology enables the production of high-performance systems that generate more than 2.0kW of power from each kilogram of solar cell material.

Will the 737 Max survive COVID-19?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

PHASA-35 HALE UAV has a 35m wingspan, weighs 150kg and will be deployed to offer different services, including surveillance and vital communications to remote areas.

Prismatic CTO Dr Darryl Sergison said: “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.

“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.”