State of the art InGaP2/GaAs/In0.28Ga0.72As inverted metamorphic (IMM) solar cells have achieved impressive results, however, the thick metamorphic buffer needed between the lattice matched GaAs and lattice mismatched InGaAs requires significant effort and time to grow and retains a fairly high defect density. One approach to this problem is to replace the bottom InGaAs junction with an Sb-based material such as 0.73 eV GaSb or ~1.0 eV Al0.2Ga0.8Sb. By using interfacial misfit (IMF) arrays, the high degree of strain (7.8%) between GaAs and GaSb can be relaxed solely by laterally propagating 90° misfit dislocations that are confined to the GaAs-GaSb interface layer.
We have used molecular beam epitaxy to grow GaSb single junction solar cells homoepitaxially on GaSb and heteroepitaxially on GaAs using IMF. Under 15-sun AM1.5 illumination, the control cell achieved 5% efficiency with a WOC of 366 mV, while the IMF cell was able to reach 2.1% with WOC of 546 mV. Shunting and high non-radiative dark current were main cause of FF and efficiency loss in the IMF devices. Threading dislocations or point defects were the expected source behind the losses, leading to minority carrier lifetimes less than 1ns. Deep level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) was used to search for defects electrically and two traps were found in IMF material that were not detected in the homoepitaxial GaSb device. One of these traps had a trap density of 7 × 1015 cm-3, about one order of magnitude higher than the control cell defect at 4 × 1016 cm-3.
George T. Nelson, Bor-Chau Juang, Michael A. Slocum, Zachary S. Bittner, Ramesh Babu B. Laghumavarapu, Diana L. Huffaker, and Seth M. Hubbard, "GaSb on GaAs solar cells Grown using interfacial misfit arrays (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10099, Physics, Simulation, and Photonic Engineering of Photovoltaic Devices VI, 1009904 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 30, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2256426.5390916523001.
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