Distributed circuit models (DCM) divide photovoltaic devices into discrete elementary units. Each unit is assigned an equivalent circuit based on geometry and location, with circuit parameters being fit to or extrapolated from experimental results. Interconnection of these elementary units with ohmic resistors representing lateral and vertical resistances within the layers of the device forms the complete circuit model. DCMs allow grid design optimization, simulation of chromatic aberration, luminescent coupling and analysis of power losses due to regionally specific resistances, which are not possible with simple lumped models. Previous DCMs have been limited to 1-3 junction devices, using a 2D surface model, or use of a one-diode circuit model for the cell junctions. Furthermore, a DCM can be used to simulate complex multi-junction devices with non-uniform illumination, whereas in comprehensive physics-based simulators like Synopsys TCAD Sentaurus this would require vastly greater computational resources.
In this work, a parameterized 3D distributed circuit model was developed to calculate the performance of III-V solar cells and photonic power converters (PPC) with a variable number of epitaxially stacked pn junctions. We validated these calculations against published results using a similar 3D model for a 1-junction solar cell. Furthermore, experimental results from Azastra Opto’s 20-junction PPC illuminated by an 845 nm diode laser are compared. These devices are designed with many pn junctions to achieve higher voltages and to operate under non-uniform illumination profiles from a laser or LED. The effect on device performance of varying both these parameters will be discussed.
Sanmeet Chahal, Mathew M. Wilkins, Denis P. Masson, Simon Fafard, Christopher E. Valdivia, and Karin Hinzer, "20-junction photonic power converter performance under non-uniform illumination calculated by 3D distributed circuit model (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10099, Physics, Simulation, and Photonic Engineering of Photovoltaic Devices VI, 1009908 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 30, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252919.5390916532001.
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