GaAs Thermophotovoltaic Patterned Dielectric Back Contact Devices with Improved Sub-Bandgap Reflectance: Article No. 111545

Madhan Arulanandam, Myles Steiner, Eric Tervo, Alexandra Young, Leah Kuritzky, Emmett Perl, Tarun Narayan, Brendan Kayes, Justin Briggs, Richard King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus Citations


We demonstrate GaAs thermophotovoltaic (TPV) devices with a patterned dielectric back contact (PDBC) architecture, featuring a dielectric spacer between the semiconductor and back metal contact over most of the back surface for high reflectance, and metal point contacts over a smaller area for electrical conduction. In the TPV application, high sub-bandgap reflectance is needed to reflect unused sub-bandgap photons to the thermal emitter to minimize energy losses in this portion of the thermal spectrum. We explore different PDBC fabrication processes with SU-8 and SiO2 dielectric spacer layers to maximize sub-bandgap reflectance while minimizing series resistance to increase TPV conversion efficiency. We successfully demonstrate GaAs SU-8 PDBC TPV devices with 2200 degrees C blackbody-weighted sub-bandgap reflectance of 94.9% and 96.5% with and without a front metal grid, respectively. This is 0.7% and 2.3% (absolute) higher than the mean sub-bandgap reflectance of 94.2% for GaAs baseline TPV devices with 100% Au back contact with front metal grid. Lower sub-bandgap reflectance in TPV devices with front grids indicates the front grid induces light scattering leading to additional parasitic absorption in the TPV device. We also show that for higher contact coverage fractions, the PDBC reflectance cannot in general be treated by a linear interpolation using simple 1D transfer matrix method modeling and should be treated instead as a diffraction grating by solving Maxwell's equations in 3D.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-80848


  • energy storage
  • III-V
  • patterned dielectric
  • photovoltaics
  • PV
  • series resistance
  • sub-bandgap deflectance
  • thermophotovoltaics


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