Chapter 24: Two- and Three-Dimensional Electronic Modeling of Thin-Film Solar Cells

Ana Kanevce, Wyatt Metzger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Modeling can provide physical insight to device operation, help distinguish important material properties from unimportant properties, predict trends, and help interpret experimental data. Numerical modeling is also useful to simulate different electro-optical experiments, in the presence of grain boundaries (GBs) and nonplanar junctions and geometries, and to help interpret data obtained in such experiments. This chapter presents methods for effective multidimensional modeling. The first step in creating a computational model is defining and providing discretization of a 2D area or a 3D volume. Two main approaches to the discretization have been used for studying solar cells: equivalent-circuit modeling and solving semiconductor equations. The chapter gives some examples of problems that were addressed with 2D or 3D modeling and the knowledge that was gained through them. Multidimensional modeling including GBs and other material variations is necessary to explain the device physics and experimental results present in diverse thin-film technologies.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationAdvanced Characterization Techniques for Thin Film Solar Cells, Second Edition
EditorsD. Abou-Ras, T. Kirchartz, U. Rau
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-5J00-64991


  • discretization
  • electro-optical experiments
  • equivalent-circuit modeling
  • semiconductor modeling
  • thin-film solar cells
  • three-dimensional electronic modeling
  • two-dimensional electronic modeling


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