Optical Enhancement of the Open-Circuit Voltage in High Quality GaAs Solar Cells

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The self-absorption of radiated photons increases the minority carrier concentration in semiconductor optoelectronic devices such as solar cells. This so-called photon recycling leads to an increase in the external luminescent efficiency, the fraction of internally radiated photons that are able to escape through the front surface. An increased external luminescent efficiency in turn correlates with an increased open-circuit voltage and ultimately conversion efficiency. We develop a detailed ray-optical model that calculates V oc for real, non-idealized solar cells, accounting for isotropic luminescence, parasitic losses, multiple photon reflections within the cell and wavelength-dependent indices of refraction for the layers in the cell. We have fabricated high quality GaAs solar cells, systematically varying the optical properties including the back reflectance, and have demonstrated Voc 1.101 ± 0.002 V and conversion efficiencies of (27.8 ± 0.8) under the global solar spectrum. The trends shown by the model are in good agreement with the data.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number123109
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 28 Mar 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5200-57867


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