Identification of the Limiting Factors for High-Temperature GaAs, GaInP, and AlGaInP Solar Cells from Device and Carrier Lifetime Analysis: Article No. 233102

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Abstract

We analyze the temperature-dependent dark saturation current density and open-circuit voltage (VOC) for GaAs, GaInP, and AlGaInP solar cells from 25 to 400 degrees C. As expected, the intrinsic carrier concentration, ni, dominates the temperature dependence of the dark currents. However, at 400 degrees C, we measure VOC that is ~50 mV higher for the GaAs solar cell and ~60-110 mV lower for the GaInP and AlGaInP solar cells compared to what would be expected from commonly used solar cell models that consider only the ni2 temperature dependence. To better understand these deviations, we measure the carrier lifetimes of p-type GaAs, GaInP, and AlGaInP double heterostructures (DHs) from 25 to 400 degrees C using time-resolved photoluminescence. Temperature-dependent minority carrier lifetimes are analyzed to determine the relative contributions of the radiative recombination, interface recombination, Shockley-Read-Hall recombination, and thermionic emission processes. We find that radiative recombination dominates for the GaAs DHs with the effective lifetime approximately doubling as the temperature is increased from 25 degrees C to 400 degrees C. In contrast, we find that thermionic emission dominates for the GaInP and AlGaInP DHs at elevated temperatures, leading to a 3-4x reduction in the effective lifetime and ~40x increase in the surface recombination velocity as the temperature is increased from 25 degrees C to 400 degrees C. These observations suggest that optimization of the minority carrier confinement layers for the GaInP and AlGaInP solar cells could help to improve VOC and solar cell efficiency at elevated temperatures. We demonstrate VOC improvement at 200-400 degrees C in GaInP solar cells fabricated with modified AlGaInP window and back surface field layers.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Volume122
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-70767

Keywords

  • electric currents
  • electrical properties
  • semiconductors
  • solar cells
  • thermionic emission

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