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Single-nanowire, low-bandgap hot carrier solar cells with tunable open-circuit voltage

Limpert, Steven LU ; Burke, Adam LU ; Chen, I. Ju LU ; Anttu, Nicklas LU ; Lehmann, Sebastian LU ; Fahlvik Svensson, Sofia LU ; Bremner, Stephen; Conibeer, Gavin; Thelander, Claes LU and Pistol, Mats Erik LU , et al. (2017) In Nanotechnology 28(43).
Abstract

Compared to traditional pn-junction photovoltaics, hot carrier solar cells offer potentially higher efficiency by extracting work from the kinetic energy of photogenerated 'hot carriers' before they cool to the lattice temperature. Hot carrier solar cells have been demonstrated in high-bandgap ferroelectric insulators and GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructures, but so far not in low-bandgap materials, where the potential efficiency gain is highest. Recently, a high open-circuit voltage was demonstrated in an illuminated wurtzite InAs nanowire with a low bandgap of 0.39 eV, and was interpreted in terms of a photothermoelectric effect. Here, we point out that this device is a hot carrier solar cell and discuss its performance in those terms. In the... (More)

Compared to traditional pn-junction photovoltaics, hot carrier solar cells offer potentially higher efficiency by extracting work from the kinetic energy of photogenerated 'hot carriers' before they cool to the lattice temperature. Hot carrier solar cells have been demonstrated in high-bandgap ferroelectric insulators and GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructures, but so far not in low-bandgap materials, where the potential efficiency gain is highest. Recently, a high open-circuit voltage was demonstrated in an illuminated wurtzite InAs nanowire with a low bandgap of 0.39 eV, and was interpreted in terms of a photothermoelectric effect. Here, we point out that this device is a hot carrier solar cell and discuss its performance in those terms. In the demonstrated devices, InP heterostructures are used as energy filters in order to thermoelectrically harvest the energy of hot electrons photogenerated in InAs absorber segments. The obtained photovoltage depends on the heterostructure design of the energy filter and is therefore tunable. By using a high-resistance, thermionic barrier, an open-circuit voltage is obtained that is in excess of the Shockley-Queisser limit. These results provide generalizable insight into how to realize high voltage hot carrier solar cells in low-bandgap materials, and therefore are a step towards the demonstration of higher efficiency hot carrier solar cells.

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publication status
published
subject
keywords
hot carriers, III-V nanowires, photothermoelectrics, photovoltaics, Shockley-Queisser limit
in
Nanotechnology
volume
28
issue
43
publisher
IOP Publishing
external identifiers
  • scopus:85031123584
  • wos:000412203000001
ISSN
0957-4484
DOI
10.1088/1361-6528/aa8984
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3d9c5f49-daec-4d7c-b3b0-b821c40109da
date added to LUP
2017-10-26 14:45:56
date last changed
2018-01-16 13:24:27
@article{3d9c5f49-daec-4d7c-b3b0-b821c40109da,
  abstract     = {<p>Compared to traditional pn-junction photovoltaics, hot carrier solar cells offer potentially higher efficiency by extracting work from the kinetic energy of photogenerated 'hot carriers' before they cool to the lattice temperature. Hot carrier solar cells have been demonstrated in high-bandgap ferroelectric insulators and GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructures, but so far not in low-bandgap materials, where the potential efficiency gain is highest. Recently, a high open-circuit voltage was demonstrated in an illuminated wurtzite InAs nanowire with a low bandgap of 0.39 eV, and was interpreted in terms of a photothermoelectric effect. Here, we point out that this device is a hot carrier solar cell and discuss its performance in those terms. In the demonstrated devices, InP heterostructures are used as energy filters in order to thermoelectrically harvest the energy of hot electrons photogenerated in InAs absorber segments. The obtained photovoltage depends on the heterostructure design of the energy filter and is therefore tunable. By using a high-resistance, thermionic barrier, an open-circuit voltage is obtained that is in excess of the Shockley-Queisser limit. These results provide generalizable insight into how to realize high voltage hot carrier solar cells in low-bandgap materials, and therefore are a step towards the demonstration of higher efficiency hot carrier solar cells.</p>},
  articleno    = {434001},
  author       = {Limpert, Steven and Burke, Adam and Chen, I. Ju and Anttu, Nicklas and Lehmann, Sebastian and Fahlvik Svensson, Sofia and Bremner, Stephen and Conibeer, Gavin and Thelander, Claes and Pistol, Mats Erik and Linke, Heiner},
  issn         = {0957-4484},
  keyword      = {hot carriers,III-V nanowires,photothermoelectrics,photovoltaics,Shockley-Queisser limit},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  number       = {43},
  publisher    = {IOP Publishing},
  series       = {Nanotechnology},
  title        = {Single-nanowire, low-bandgap hot carrier solar cells with tunable open-circuit voltage},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1361-6528/aa8984},
  volume       = {28},
  year         = {2017},
}