Design of III-V Multijunction Solar Cells on Silicon Substrate

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Virginia Tech


With looming energy crisis across the globe, achieving high efficiency and low cost solar cells have long been the key objective for photovoltaic researchers. III-V compound semiconductor based multijunction solar cells have been the dominant choice for space power due to their superior performance compared to any other existing solar cell technologies. In spite of unmatched performance of III-V solar cells, Si cells have dominated the terrestrial market due to their lower cost. Most of the current III-V solar cells are grown on Ge or GaAs substrates, which are not only smaller in diameter, but are also more expensive than Si substrate. Direct integration of high efficiency III-V solar cells on larger diameter, cheaper and readily available Si substrate is highly desirable for increased density, low-cost and lightweight photovoltaics. However, the polar-on-nonpolar epitaxy, the thermal mismatch and the 4% lattice mismatch makes the direct growth of GaAs on Si challenging, rendering the metamorphic cell sensitive to dislocations.

The focus of this work is to investigate and correlate the impact of threading dislocation density on the performance of lattice-mismatched single-junction (1J) GaAs and dual-junction (2J) InGaP/GaAs solar cells on Si substrate. Utilizing our calibrated dislocation-assisted modeling process, we present the design methodology to optimize the structure of 2J InGaP/GaAs solar cell on Si substrate. Our modeling results suggest an optimistic future for integrating III-V solar cell technology on Si substrate and will be useful for future design and prediction of metamorphic III-V solar cell performance on Si substrate.



III-V Semiconductors, Multijunction, Solar Cells, Solar Cell Modeling