IBM and Solar Frontier will collaborate to expand upon IBMs innovations in this area. In February 2010 this year, IBM announced the results of 9.6 percent efficient solar cells using CZTS material, which was a 40 percent efficiency increase over previous CZTS solar cells. The key layer that absorbs most of the light for conversion into electricity, is made entirely of readily-available elements.
The CZTS cells are different from the commonly used compound semiconductors, primarily copper-indium-gallium-selenide, CIGS or cadmium telluride. In February, IBM announced that it does not plan to manufacture these solar technologies but is open to partnering with a solar cell manufacturer. This collaboration has been realised with Solar Frontier.
Solar Frontier’s chief technology officer Satoru Kuriyagawa stated in a press release, "We are interested in CZTS for its evolutionary compatibility with our CIS thin film technology. The goals of this project correspond with Solar Frontier’s mission to combine both economical and ecological solar energy solutions."
The results of IBM’s research were published in a paper by Advanced Materials in February and highlighted the solar cell’s potential to accomplish the goal of producing a low-cost energy source that can be commercially used. The solar cell development also sets itself apart from its predecessors as it was created using a combination of solution and nanoparticle-based approaches, rather than the popular, but expensive vacuum-based technique.