High-Efficiency, Thin-Film InP Concentrator Solar Cells

M. W. Wanlass, T. J. Coutts, J. S. Ward, K. A. Emery, G. S. Horner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


High-efficiency, thin-film InP solar cells grown heteroepitaxially on GaAs and Si single-crystal bulk substrates are being developed as a means of eliminating the problems associated with using single-crystal InP substrates (e.g., high cost, fragility, high mass density and low thermal conductivity). A novel device structure employing a compositionally graded GaxIn1-xAs layer (∼8 μm thick) between the bulk substrate and the InP cell layers is used to reduce the dislocation density and improve the minority carrier properties in the InP. The structures are grown in a continuous sequence of steps using computer-controlled atmospheric-pressure metalorganic vapor-phase epitaxy (AP-MOVPE). Dislocation densities as low as 3×107 cm-2 and minority carrier lifetimes as high as 3.3 ns are achieved in the InP layers with this method using both GaAs or Si substrates. Structures prepared in this fashion are also completely free of microcracks. These results represent a substantial improvement in InP layer quality when compared to heteroepitaxial InP prepared using conventional techniques such as thermally cycled growth and post-growth annealing. The present work is concerned with the fabrication and characterization of thin-film InP solar cells designed for operation at high solar concentration (∼100 suns) which have been prepared from similar device structures grown on GaAs substrates. The cell performance is characterized as a function of the air mass zero (AM0) solar concentration ratio (1-100 suns) and operating temperature (25°-80° C). From these data, the temperature coefficients of the cell performance parameters are derived as a function of the concentration ratio. Under concentration, the cells exhibit a dramatic increase in efficiency and an improved temperature coefficient of efficiency. At 25° C, a peak conversion efficiency of 18.9% (71.8 suns, AM0 spectrum) is reported. At 80° C, the peak AM0 efficiency is 15.7% at 75.6 suns. These are the highest efficiencies yet reported for InP heteroepitaxial cells. Approaches for further improving the cell performance are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1019-1024
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1991

Bibliographical note


NREL Publication Number

  • ACNR/JA-213-12090


  • heteroepitaxy
  • InP
  • solar cells


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