We have proposed a two-step photon up-conversion solar cell (TPU-SC), which is a single junction solar cell comprising a wide gap semiconductor (WGS) and a narrow gap semiconductor (NGS) to break through the Shockley–Queisser limit for the single-junction solar cells. In the TPU-SC, below-gap photons of WGS excite the NGS and accumulate electrons at the WGS / NGS hetero-interface. The accumulated electrons at the hetero-interface are easily excited towards the WGS barrier by the low-energy photons, resulting in the efficient two-step up-conversion (TPU). We have experimentally demonstrated highly efficient current generation by the TPU. In this paper, we present the concept of the TPU-SC, theoretical prediction of the conversion efficiency of the TPU-SC, and experimental result of efficient photocarrier collection attributable to the TPU phenomenon.
We have studied detailed carrier generation process in the two-step photon absorption and influence of thermal carrier escape in quantum-dot intermediate-band solar cells (QD-IBSC). The photocurrent created by the two-step photon absorption shows saturation as the inter-band excitation intensity becomes strong, and the inter-band excitation intensity showing the saturation behavior strongly depends on the inter-subband excitation intensity. To interpret this phenomenon, we carried out a theoretical simulation based on carrier dynamics considering carrier generation, energy relaxation and thermal carrier escape. The results indicate that the photocurrent saturation is caused by filling the intermediate states. The shift of the saturation point depending on the inter-subband excitation intensity is caused by the shift of the quasi-Fermi level for the intermediate states.