Record Efficiency Multijunction Solar Cells with Strain-Balanced Quantum Well Superlattices

Research output: NRELPresentation


The absorption edge of a GaAs solar cell can be tuned to longer wavelengths with strain-balanced quantum wells, as an alternative to metamorphic epitaxy. For one-sun photovoltaic applications, an optimum bandgap for both single and multijunction solar cells is near the broad water absorption peak at 930 nm and can be accessed by a Ga0.9In0.1As alloy. This alloy is strained with respect to the GaAs substrate, and so only very thin ~10 nm layers can be grown without relaxation via dislocation formation. However, solar cells require significant thickness for complete absorption of the incoming solar spectrum, requiring many such layers. We have designed quantum well superlattices with up to 300 sets of carefully tuned strain-balanced GaInAs/GaAsP pairs by limiting composition modulation and material degradation. We have incorporated quantum well solar cells into multijunction devices to achieve record 32.9% two-junction and 39.5% three-junction solar cells under standard one-sun illumination. We will describe the physics of the quantum well devices and the growth conditions that lead to sharp interfaces and good material quality, as well as the characterization of the efficiencies.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages33
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePresented at the Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting and Exhibit, 8-13 May 2022, Honolulu, Hawaii

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5900-81351


  • GaAs
  • GaAsP
  • GaInP
  • multijunction solar cell
  • photovoltaic
  • PV
  • quantum well superlattice


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