Charge Carrier Lifetime Determination in Graded Absorber Solar Cells Using Time-Resolved Photoluminescence Simulations and Measurements

Alexandra Bothwell, Carey Reich, Adam Danielson, Arthur Onno, Zachary Holman, Walajabad Sampath, Darius Kuciauskas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus Citations


Thin-film photovoltaic device efficiencies are limited by carrier recombination, thus understanding recombination mechanisms is critical for performance improvements. Bulk minority carrier lifetime (τ bulk) is a critical parameter for solar cells but is difficult to determine in P–N junction devices, especially for high doping. As doping ≥1016 cm−3 is required for efficient drift-charge-carrier-collection devices, a method for τ bulk determination in doped P–N junction devices is necessary. This work utilizes time-resolved photoluminescence (TRPL) simulations to quantify bulk and interface recombination properties in highly doped, graded absorber CdSeTe structures. The two methods developed here for τ bulk determination include utilization of an instantaneous lifetime representation to guide TRPL fitting and direct comparison between measured and simulated decays. Simulations verified that both methods are valid for state-of-the-art device architectures which include graded bandgap absorbers, graded doping, and graded lifetimes. Shifts in the dominant recombination mechanism are identified for sufficiently long τ bulk, where front and back interface quality plays a more prominent role. Evaluation of surface recombination velocities and conduction band offset illustrate electro-optical advantages of a positive conduction band offset and highlight the necessity of improved interfaces as bulk quality in photovoltaic devices improves.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2201029
Number of pages10
JournalSolar RRL
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Solar RRL published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-84670


  • carrier lifetime
  • doping
  • interfaces
  • solar cells
  • time-resolved photoluminescence


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