Effects of Bismuth on Wide-Depletion-Width GaInNAs Solar Cells

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GaInNAs solar cells could be useful in next-generation multijunction solar cells if issues surrounding low photocurrents and photovoltages are surmounted. Wide-depletion-width devices generate significant photocurrent using a p-i-n structure grown by molecular beam epitaxy, but these depletion widths are only realized in a region of parameter space that leads to rough surface morphologies. Here, bismuth is explored as a surfactant for the growth of GaInNAs solar cells. Very low fluxes of Bi are effective at maintaining smooth surfaces, even at high growth temperatures and In contents. However, Bi also increases the net donor concentration in these materials, manifested in our n -on- p device structures as a pn -junction that moves deeper into the base layer with increasing Bi fluxes. Quantum efficiency modeling and scanning kelvin probe microscopy measurements confirm the type conversion of the base layer from p type to n type. Bi incorporation in GaAsBi samples shows signs of surface segregation, leading to a finite buildup time, and this effect may lead to slow changes in the electrical properties of the GaInNAs(Bi) devices. Bi also appears to create a defect level, although this defect level is not deleterious enough to increase the dark current in the devices.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1053-1057
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-520-42278


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