Development and Characterization of High-Efficiency Ga0.5In0.5P/GaAs/Ge Dual- and Triple-Junction Solar Cells

Nasser H. Karam, Richard R. King, B. Terence Cavicchi, Dimitri D. Krut, James H. Ermer, Moran Haddad, Li Cai, David E. Joslin, Mark Takahashi, Jack W. Eldredge, Warren T. Nishikawa, David R. Lillington, Brian M. Keyes, Richard K. Ahrenkiel

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This paper describes recent progress in the characterization, analysis, and development of high-efficiency, radiation-resistant Ga0.5In0.5P/GaAs/Ge dual-junction (DJ) and triple-junction (TJ) solar cells. DJ cells have rapidly transitioned from the laboratory to full-scale (325 kW/year) production at Spectrolab. Performance data for over 470 000 large-area (26.94 cm2), thin (140 μm) DJ solar cells grown on low-cost, high-strength Ge substrates are shown. Advances in next-generation triple-junction Ga0.5In0.5P/GaAs/Ge cells with an active Ge component cell are discussed, giving efficiencies up to 26.7% (21.65-cm2 area), AM0, at 28°C. Final-to-initial power ratios P/P0 of 0.83 were measured for these n-on-p DJ and TJ cells after irradiation with 1015 1-MeV electrons/cm2. Time-resolved photoluminescence measurements are applied to double heterostructures grown with semiconductor layers and interfaces relevant to these multijunction solar cells, to characterize surface and bulk recombination and guide further device improvements. Dual- and triple-junction Ga0.5In0.5P/GaAs/Ge cells are compared to competing space photovoltaic technologies, and found to offer 60-75% more end-of-life power than high-efficiency Si cells at a nominal array temperature of 60°C.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2116-2125
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electron Devices
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-520-27896


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