Multijunction Solar Cells with Graded Buffer Bragg Reflectors

Ryan M. France, Pilar Espinet-Gonzalez, Nicholas J. Ekins-Daukes, Harvey Guthrey, Myles A. Steiner, John F. Geisz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus Citations


Metamorphic solar cells can have optimal bandgap combinations through the use of compositionally graded buffers, where the lattice constant is slowly varied over several microns of growth. Bragg reflectors consist of several microns of alternating layers with refractive index contrast and provide a useful internal reflection to multijunction solar cells with optically thin subcells. In this work, we implement distributed Bragg reflectors within the compositionally graded buffers of inverted metamorphic solar cells to add functionality to the buffer. The reflectance of this AlGaInAs 'graded buffer Bragg reflector' is very similar to the reflectance of a similar AlGaAs Bragg reflector external to a buffer as well as the reflectance predicted by the transfer matrix model, indicating that the roughness of the buffer does not drastically reduce the reflection. Reflectance of 72%, 91%, and 98% is achieved in 2, 4, and 8 μm buffers using AlGaInAs layers that alternate between 30% and 70% aluminum content. Using a 2 μm graded buffer Bragg reflector, the 1.0-eV mismatched subcell of a GaAs/GaInAs tandem has a minor increase in threading dislocation density compared to a standard graded buffer and a small, 20 mV, loss in voltage. As the buffer is thickened, the voltage loss is recuperated and excellent subcell voltages are achieved, indicating that the Bragg reflector is not severely hindering dislocation glide. We demonstrate that the benefits of the graded buffer Bragg reflector for optically thin subcells and subcells containing quantum wells, and conclude that Bragg reflectors can effectively be implemented within graded buffers, adding functionality without adding cost.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number8477025
Pages (from-to)1608-1615
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-71716


  • Bragg reflector
  • metamorphic
  • multijunction solar cells
  • quantum wells


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