Press Releases

January 29, 2024

SLIM*1, JAXA's Spacecraft Equipped with Sharp's Thin-film Compound Solar Cells, Makes Successful Pinpoint Landing on the Moon

Left: SLIM (artist rendering; ©JAXA)
Right: Thin-film compound solar cells installed on board SLIM

SLIM, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)'s spacecraft equipped with thin-film compound solar cells developed and manufactured by Sharp Corporation, successfully made a pinpoint landing (within 100 meters of target) on the Moon's surface early on January 20, 2024. It has been confirmed that the solar cells continued to operate normally following the landing.

Sharp began developing solar cells for outer space applications in 1967, and the first solar cells were installed on the Ume satellite in 1976. Since then, we have been developing and manufacturing outer space solar cells for nearly half a century as Japan's sole solar cell manufacturer certified by JAXA, and our solar cells have been installed on about 190 satellites*2 to date.

The thin-film compound solar cells installed on SLIM were developed using the same technology as the triple-junction compound solar module*3 that achieved the world's highest*4 conversion efficiency of 32.65%*5 in 2022 with the support of NEDO*6. The structure encapsulates the solar cell within a thin film, making it lightweight and flexible enough to be mounted on curved surfaces, thus achieving specifications suitable for applications in outer space that require high efficiency and light weight.

Sharp will continue to pursue research and development of solar cells for aerospace applications and contribute to satellite and space exploration projects, including those of JAXA.

Overview of thin-film compound solar cells on board SLIM


Sheet output

Sheet size

Number of sheets

• Compound triple-
junction type

• Film encapsulation

20.9 W

297 x 271 x 0.25 mm (H x W x D)

Weight approx. 41 g*7

26 sheets

(total power output: approx. 540 W)

*1 SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) is a small-scale lunar exploration spacecraft developed by JAXA, which plans to demonstrate technologies enabling high-accuracy landings required for future lunar and planetary exploration utilizing small spacecraft. Website:

*2 As of November 30, 2023.

*3 A type of solar cell that achieves high conversion efficiency by incorporating three photo-absorption layers made of compounds consisting of two or more elements, for example indium, gallium, and arsenic, such that each layer absorbs light of a different wavelength.

*4 As of June 6, 2022, for solar modules at the research level (based on a survey by Sharp).

*5 Conversion efficiency confirmed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; one of several organizations around the world that officially certifies energy conversion efficiency measurements in solar cells) in February 2022. (Module surface approx. 965 square centimeters; maximum output 31.51 W)

*6 NEDO: New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization

*7 Total weight of installed sheets is approximately 1.07 kg.

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