A Taxonomy for Three-Terminal Tandem Solar Cells

Emily Warren, William McMahon, Adele Tamboli, Kaitlyn VanSant, Riley Whitehead, Michael Rienaecker, Robby Peibst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus Citations


Tandem and multijunction solar cells offer the only demonstrated path to terrestrial 1-sun solar cell efficiency over 30%. Three-terminal tandem (3TT) solar cells can overcome some of the limitations of two-terminal and four-terminal tandem solar cell designs. However, the coupled nature of the cells adds a degree of complexity to the devices themselves and the ways that their performance can be measured and reported. While many different configurations of 3TT devices have been proposed, there is no standard taxonomy to discuss the device structure or loading topology. This Perspective proposes a taxonomy for 3TT solar cells to enable a common nomenclature for discussing these devices and their performance. It also provides a brief history of three-terminal devices in the literature and demonstrates that many different 3TT devices can work at efficiencies above 30% if properly designed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1233-1242
Number of pages10
JournalACS Energy Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 10 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-75666


  • IBC
  • tandem solar cell
  • taxonomy
  • three terminal


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