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High-efficiency III-V solar cells: From drawing board to real devices

Research output: Other conference contributionPaper, poster or abstractScientific

Details

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventOptics and Photonics days - Hotel Torni , Tampere, Finland
Duration: 16 May 201618 May 2016
http://www.photonics.fi/opd2016/

Conference

ConferenceOptics and Photonics days
Abbreviated titleOPD
CountryFinland
CityTampere
Period16/05/1618/05/16
Internet address

Abstract

The record solar cell conversion efficiency of 46% at concentrated sunlight has been demonstrated by direct bonding technique [1]. Regardless of the high efficiencies obtained using the direct wafer bond-ing technique, the conventional monolithic approach used in commercial solar cell production has several benefits, including production technology and cost-related factors. And yet, there is a high un-used potential, particularly in new materials that can be grown lattice-matched onto GaAs or Ge sub-strates. For example, by utilizing dilute nitride materials in multijunction solar cell structures with more than three junctions and by carefully optimizing structural elements and manufacturing technology, ef-ficiencies exceeding 50% is a realistic target [2]. Here we review our theoretical and experimental work carried out on development of various parts of high-efficiency multijunction solar cells based on GaInNAsSb-based materials, i.e., dilute nitrides. First of all, we have developed a molecular beam epitaxy process for GaInNAsSb sub-junction with very high external quantum efficiency exceeding 90%. This building block is essential for achieving high conversion efficiency for GaInP/GaAs/GaInNAsSb triple-junction solar cells. Secondly, the use of a variety of electro-optical simulation tools such as Crosslight APSYS, Silvaco TCAD, PC1D, Es-sential MacLeod and semi-empirical analytical models combined with experimental work on numerous test samples have helped in fabricating ultra-low specific resistivity tunnel junctions and high-quality sub-junctions based on conventional III-V materials such as GaInP and GaAs to be integrated with the dilute nitride sub-junction. Thirdly, we have also extracted important material specific physical param-eters such as carrier lifetimes, mobilities and concentrations for dilute nitrides by matching the simula-tions to experimental solar cell device characteristics [3]. The extracted parameters are used for refin-ing the simulation models which provide deeper understanding of the device physics. The work done so far has led to a rapid increase in conversion efficiency of our GaInP/GaAs/GaInNAsSb triple-junction solar cells – at a pace of ~5 %-points/year since 2012. High-efficiency solar cells with effi-ciencies of 29% and 31% at one sun (AM0 and AM1.5G, respectively) and 36–39% under concen-trated sunlight (at ~70 suns) have already been demonstrated [4,5]. Additionally, the effects of various optical and structural design elements related to fabrication of real III-V multijunction solar cells will be critically reviewed. Especially, we will concentrate on the pros and cons of backside reflector structure architectures – including various planar reflector types and Lambertian scatterers – and nanostructured antireflection coatings [6] which are currently widely em-ployed for solar cell photon management. The consequences of adding such elements to the fabrica-tion process and impact on improving the conversion efficiency towards >50% efficiency are as-sessed.

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