14 March 2016 Observation of mini-band formation in the ground and high-energy electronic states of super-lattice solar cells
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Multiple Quantum wells (MQWs) have been studied as one promising material for high-efficiency nextgeneration solar cells. However, a portion of photo-excited carriers recombine in MQWs, resulting in the degradation of cell performance. Super-lattice (SL) structures, where quantum states in neighboring quantum wells strongly couple with each other, have been proposed for the carrier collection improvement via the tunneling transport through mini-bands. Therefore, it is important to characterize mini-band formation in various types of SL structures. We examined p-i-n GaAs-based solar cells whose i layers contain 20 stacks of InGaAs/GaAsP MQW structures with 2.1-nm GaAsP barriers (thin-barrier cell), with 2.1-nm barriers and 3-nm GaAs interlayers in between GaAsP barriers and InGaAs wells (stepbarrier cell), and with 7.8-nm barriers (thick-barrier cell). We investigated the optical absorption spectra of the SL solar cells using piezoelectric photo-thermal (PPT) spectroscopy. In the thick-barrier cell, one exciton peak was observed near the absorption edge of MQWs. On the other hand, we confirmed a split of the exciton peak for the thin-barrier SL, suggesting the formation of mini-band. Moreover, in the step-barrier cell, the mini-band at the ground state disappears since thick GaAs interlayers isolate each quantum-well ground state and, instead, the mini-band formation of highenergy states could be observed. By estimating from the energy-level calculation, this is attributed to the mini-band formation of light-hole states. This can well explain the improvement of carrier collection efficiency (CCE) of the thinbarrier and the step-barrier cells compared with the thick-barrier cell.
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Takanori Usuki, Kouki Matsuochi, Tsubasa Nakamura, Kasidit Toprasertpong, Atsuhiko Fukuyama, Masakazu Sugiyama, Yoshiaki Nakano, and Tetsuo Ikari "Observation of mini-band formation in the ground and high-energy electronic states of super-lattice solar cells", Proc. SPIE 9743, Physics, Simulation, and Photonic Engineering of Photovoltaic Devices V, 974312 (14 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2214094; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2214094

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