In crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells, carrier selective contacts are among the remaining issues to be addressed in order to reach the theoretical efficiency limit. Especially in ultra-thin-film c-Si solar cells with small volumes and higher carrier concentrations, contact recombination is more critical to the overall performance. In this paper, the advantages of using TiOX as electron-selective layers for contact passivation in c-Si solar cells are analyzed. We characterize the metal/TiOX/n-Si electron-selective contact with the contact recombination factor J0c and the contact resistivity ρc for the first time. Experimental results show that both J0c and ρc decrease after the insertion of TiOX. In addition, the effect of post-deposition rapid-thermal-annealing (RTA) at different temperatures is also evaluated. The best J0c of 5.5 pA/cm2 and the lowest ρc of 13.6 mΩ·cm2 are achieved after the RTA process. This work reveals the potential of TiOX as an electron-selective layer for contact passivation to enable high-efficiency ultra-thin c-Si solar cells with a low cost.
State-of-the-art III-V cells have reached the highest energy conversion efficiency among all types of solar cells. However, these cells are not applicable to widespread terrestrial solar energy system yet due to the high cost of epitaxial growth. Ultra-thin film absorbers with advanced light management is one of the most promising solutions to drive down the cost. In this paper, we present an ultra-thin film nano-window gallium arsenide (GaAs) solar cell design. This ultrathin cell consists of a nano-structured Al0.8Ga0.2As window layer on the front side to reduce the reflection and to trap the light, and a metal reflector on the back side to further increase the light path. The 300 nm thick GaAs cell with Al0.8Ga0.2As nano-window shows a broad band absorption enhancement from visible to near infrared (NIR), achieving a spectrally averaged absorption of 94% under normal incidence. In addition, this cell shows excellent angular absorption properties, achieving over 85% spectral averaged absorption at up to 60 degree off normal incidence. Meanwhile, this structure with planar junction and nano-window has solved the issue of low fill factor and low open-circuit voltage in nano-structured GaAs solar cell. A nano-window cell with a 3 μm thick GaAs junction demonstrated an open circuit voltage of 0.9V.
In this paper, a novel electro-absorption modulation mechanism based on coupled-quantum-wells (CQWs) is proposed and demonstrated. Compared to a quantum-confined-stark-effect (QCSE) modulator with multiple fully decoupled single-QWs, the newly designed CQW modulator has two sub-quantum-wells partially coupled with a small barrier in between. Modulation is based on the change of electron and hole wave-function overlap in the CQWs, which requires a small bias electric field of <10 kV/cm) compared to the operation of a typical QCSE modulator which requires >50 kV/cm bias electrical field. Theoretically, the power consumption of this new CQW modulator can be lower than 20 fJ/bit and the speed can be higher than 10 Gbps, which outperforms the best Ge/SiGe QCSE modulator that has been previously demonstrated. A proof-of-concept Ge/SiGe CQW modulator based on this novel modulation mechanism was designed and fabricated. Instead of a traditional PIN diode structure, the new CQW modulator uses a PIP structure.
Dilute nitride materials have been used in a variety of III-V photonic devices, but have not been significantly explored in photoelectrochemical applications. This work focuses on using dilute phosphide nitride materials of the form (Al,In)P1-xNx as photocathodes for the generation of hydrogen fuel from solar energy. Heteroepitaxial MOCVD growth of AlPN thin films on GaP yields high quality material with a direct bandgap energy of 2.218 eV. Aligned epitaxial growth of InP and GaP nanowires on InP and Si substrates, respectively, provides a template for designing nanostructured photocathodes over a large area. Electrochemical testing of a AlPN/GaP heterostructure electrode yields up to a sixfold increase in photocurrent enhancement under blue light illumination as compared to a GaP electrode. Additionally, the AlPN/GaP electrodes exhibit no degradation in performance after galvanostatic biasing over time. These results show that (Al,In)P1-xNx is a promising materials system for use in nanoscale photocathode structures.
State of art III-V multi-junction solar cells have demonstrated a record high efficiency of 43.5%. However, these cells
are only applicable to high concentration systems due to their high cost of substrates and epitaxial growth. We
demonstrate thin film flexible nanostructure arrays for III-V solar cell applications. Such nanostructure arrays allow
substrate recycling and much thinner epitaxial layer thus could significantly reduce the cost of traditional III-V solar
cells. We fabricate the GaAs thin film nanostructure arrays by conformally growing GaAs thin film on nanostructured
template followed by epitaxial lift-off. We demonstrate broadband optical absorption enhancement of a film of GaAs
nanostructure arrays over a planar thin film with equal thickness. The absorption enhancement is about 300% at long
wavelengths due to significant light trapping effect and about 30% at short wavelengths due to antireflection effect from
tapered geometry. Optical simulation shows the physical mechanisms of the absorption enhancement. Using thin film
nanostructure arrays, the III-V solar system cost could be greatly reduced, leading to low $/W and high kW/kg flexible