Radiation Effects in III-V Solar Cells Grown by Dynamic Hydride Vapor Phase Epitaxy

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The recent development of hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) is potentially promising as a route to lower the cost of high-efficiency III-V solar cells for space applications. HVPE produces the same materials and device structures as the industry-standard organometallic vapor phase epitaxy (OMVPE) process, and although HVPE has shown promising device efficiencies, it lags the OMVPE growth technique in technical maturity. For example, there are no reports of the performance of HVPE-grown devices in radiation environments. There is an expectation that high-quality (that is, single crystal and low-defect) III-V materials will behave similarly regardless of the growth method. However, it is important to verify assumptions as facts. In this project, we produced materials and devices using both HVPE and OMVPE at NREL and irradiated them using 1 MeV electrons to ascertain the effect of radiation on the materials. We also performed initial work on producing more radiation-hard structures, including devices with the pn junction at the front of the device, and devices with a graded doping profile, both of which help with radiation tolerance. Measurements of the devices post radiation exposure showed that the open-circuit voltage (VOC) of the HVPE-grown solar cells degraded least on a percent basis, although they also started from a lower baseline than the OMVPE-grown devices. All solar cells reached approximately the same VOC after irradiation, indicating that the dose used was sufficient to degrade all device equally. The short-circuit current in the HVPE devices did degrade more than the other solar cells, and this was attributed to a higher-than-expected doping density in the base layer of that cell. The results of these experiments, while by no means comprehensive, do not show any material difference in the radiation effects in OMVPE- and HVPE-grown materials and devices.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5900-79742


  • HVPE
  • hydride vapor phase epitaxy
  • organometallic vapor phase epitaxy
  • photovoltaic
  • PV
  • radiation effect
  • solar cell performance


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