The Intermediate Band Solar Cell is an advanced concept, which has been predicted to overcome the Shockley-Queisser limit, despite efficiencies remaining below the best single junctions so far. Practical realizations with nanostructures suffer from two intrinsic deficiencies: narrow absorption widths and low radiative efficiencies. We evaluate in this paper the theoretical efficiency expectations with respect to those two properties, and consider in addition the possibility of including an electronic ratchet. We observe that an intermediate band solar cell using a ratchet becomes highly tolerant to non-ideal nanostructures, so that any combination of low absorption and low radiative efficiency becomes compatible with optimized performances above the Shockley-Queisser limit. We conclude that future practical realization may take advantage of quantum wells, which have been less considered so far than quantum dots, due to relatively higher nonradiative recombination rates. Such realizations would take advantage of the higher absorption properties of quantum wells.
Double resonant tunneling barriers are considered for an application as energy selective contacts in hot carrier solar cells. Experimental symmetric and asymmetric double resonant tunneling barriers are realized by molecular beam epitaxy and characterized by temperature dependent current-voltage measurements. The negative differential resistance signal is enhanced for asymmetric heterostructures, and remains unchanged between low- and room-temperatures. Within Tsu-Esaki description of the tunnel current, this observation can be explained by the voltage dependence of the tunnel transmission amplitude, which presents a resonance under finite bias for asymmetric structures. This effect is notably discussed with respect to series resistance. Different parameters related to the electronic transmission of the structure and the influence of these parameters on the current voltage characteristic are investigated, bringing insights on critical processes to optimize in double resonant tunneling barriers applied to hot carrier solar cells.