Multijunction Solar Cell Design Revisited: Disruption of Current Matching by Atmospheric Absorption Bands

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This paper re-examines the impact of atmospheric absorption bands on series-connected multijunction cell design, motivated by the numerous local efficiency maxima that appear as the number of junctions is increased. Some of the local maxima are related to the bottom subcell bandgap and are already well understood: As the bottom subcell bandgap is varied, a local efficiency maximum is produced wherever the bottom cell bandgap crosses an atmospheric absorption band. The optimal cell designs at these local maxima are generally current matched, such that all subcells have nearly the same short-circuit current. Here, we systematically describe additional local maxima that occur wherever an upper subcell bandgap encounters an atmospheric absorption band. These local maxima are not current matched and become more prevalent as the number of junctions increases, complicating the solution space for five-junction and six-junction designs. A systematic framework for describing this complexity is developed, and implications for numerical convergence are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)850-860
Number of pages11
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5J00-68328


  • atmospheric absorption bands
  • current matching
  • multijunction solar cells
  • numerical modelling


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