Internal Resistive Barriers Related to Zinc Diffusion During the Growth of Inverted Metamorphic Multijunction Solar Cells

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Majority carrier barriers at heterointerfaces are a common source of non-linear resistance that hinders concentrator solar cell performance. The source of a particular barrier is often unclear in a multijunction device with numerous heterointerfaces. We demonstrate Zn-dopant diffusion during inverted metamorphic multijunction (IMM) device growth to be one key cause of internal barrier formation. Using an inverted GaAs/GaAs tandem solar cell with a high temperature annealing layer grown in between each subcell, we simulate the annealing conditions of a multijunction growth in a simplified structure. Through analysis of the device by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and electrochemical capacitance-voltage profiling, we show that annealing causes Zn to diffuse out of the top cell Ga0.5In0.5P back surface field (BSF) and accumulate in the GaAs base. Through equilibrium band modeling, we show that the resultant doping profile forms an energetic barrier to hole flow in the valence band, which correlates with fill factor losses in the current-voltage curves measured under concentration. When we, instead, employ a C-doped Al0.2Ga0.8As BSF layer in the top cell, we do not observe evidence of a heterojunction barrier. We attribute this difference to the reduced diffusivity of carbon, confirmed by SIMS, as well as more favorable valence band offsets between GaAs and Al0.2Ga0.8As. Finally, we compare 5-junction IMM cells with Al0.2Ga0.8As:C and Ga0.5In0.5P:Zn BSF layers in the GaAs third junction, respectively, and show a significantly improved device performance under concentration when Al0.2Ga0.8As:C is employed. We demonstrate the importance of designing annealing tolerance into multijunction structures that are subjected to extended annealing during growth.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number8531749
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011-2012 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-70828


  • Concentration
  • multijunction solar cells


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