Selection Metric for Photovoltaic Materials Screening Based on Detailed-Balance Analysis

Stephan Lany, Beatrix Blank, Thomas Kirchartz, Uwe Rau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus Citations


The success of recently discovered absorber materials for photovoltaic applications has been generating increasing interest in systematic materials screening over the last years. However, the key for a successful materials screening is a suitable selection metric that goes beyond the Shockley-Queisser theory that determines the thermodynamic efficiency limit of an absorber material solely by its band-gap energy. In this work, we develop a selection metric to quantify the potential photovoltaic efficiency of a material. Our approach is compatible with detailed balance and applicable in computational and experimental materials screening. We use the complex refractive index to calculate radiative and nonradiative efficiency limits and the respective optimal thickness in the high mobility limit. We compare our model to the widely applied selection metric by Yu and Zunger [Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 068701 (2012)PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.108.068701] with respect to their dependence on thickness, internal luminescence quantum efficiency, and refractive index. Finally, the model is applied to complex refractive indices calculated via electronic structure theory.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number024032
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Issue number2
StatePublished - 31 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Physical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-70169


  • optoelectronics
  • semiconductor physics


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