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Shockley-Queisser Detailed Balance Efficiency Limit for Nanowire Solar Cells

Anttu, Nicklas LU (2015) In ACS Photonics 2(3). p.446-453
Abstract
III-V semiconductor nanowire arrays show promise as a platform for next-generation solar cells. However, the theoretical efficiency limit for converting the energy of sunlight into electrical energy in such solar cells is unknown. Here, we calculate through electromagnetic modeling the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit for an InP nanowire array solar cell. In this analysis, we calculate first from the absorption of sunlight the short-circuit current. Next, we calculate the voltage-dependent emission characteristics of the nanowire array. From these processes, we identify how much current we can extract at a given voltage. Finally, after constructing this current-voltage (IV) curve of the nanowire solar cell, we identify from the maximum... (More)
III-V semiconductor nanowire arrays show promise as a platform for next-generation solar cells. However, the theoretical efficiency limit for converting the energy of sunlight into electrical energy in such solar cells is unknown. Here, we calculate through electromagnetic modeling the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit for an InP nanowire array solar cell. In this analysis, we calculate first from the absorption of sunlight the short-circuit current. Next, we calculate the voltage-dependent emission characteristics of the nanowire array. From these processes, we identify how much current we can extract at a given voltage. Finally, after constructing this current-voltage (IV) curve of the nanowire solar cell, we identify from the maximum power output the maximum efficiency. We compare this efficiency of the nanowire array with the 31.0% efficiency limit of the conventional InP bulk solar cell with an inactive substrate underneath. We consider a nanowire array of 400 nm in period, which shows a high short-circuit current. We optimize both the nanowire length and diameter in our analysis. For example, nanowires of 4 mu m in length and 170 nm in diameter produce 96% of the short-circuit current obtainable in the perfectly absorbing InP bulk cell. However, the nanowire solar cell emits fewer photons than the bulk cell at thermal equilibrium, especially into the substrate. This weaker emission allows for a higher open circuit-voltage for the nanowire cell. As an end result, nanowires longer than 4 mu m can actually show, despite producing a lower short-circuit current, a higher efficiency limit, of up to 32.5%, than the bulk cell. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
semiconductor, nanowire array, solar cell, Shockley-Queisser efficiency, limit
in
ACS Photonics
volume
2
issue
3
pages
446 - 453
publisher
The American Chemical Society
external identifiers
  • wos:000351419600018
  • scopus:84925597867
ISSN
2330-4022
DOI
10.1021/ph5004835
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a0749ee1-3771-452e-a7c5-4193866841ed (old id 5293687)
date added to LUP
2015-04-24 14:45:23
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:41:09
@article{a0749ee1-3771-452e-a7c5-4193866841ed,
  abstract     = {III-V semiconductor nanowire arrays show promise as a platform for next-generation solar cells. However, the theoretical efficiency limit for converting the energy of sunlight into electrical energy in such solar cells is unknown. Here, we calculate through electromagnetic modeling the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit for an InP nanowire array solar cell. In this analysis, we calculate first from the absorption of sunlight the short-circuit current. Next, we calculate the voltage-dependent emission characteristics of the nanowire array. From these processes, we identify how much current we can extract at a given voltage. Finally, after constructing this current-voltage (IV) curve of the nanowire solar cell, we identify from the maximum power output the maximum efficiency. We compare this efficiency of the nanowire array with the 31.0% efficiency limit of the conventional InP bulk solar cell with an inactive substrate underneath. We consider a nanowire array of 400 nm in period, which shows a high short-circuit current. We optimize both the nanowire length and diameter in our analysis. For example, nanowires of 4 mu m in length and 170 nm in diameter produce 96% of the short-circuit current obtainable in the perfectly absorbing InP bulk cell. However, the nanowire solar cell emits fewer photons than the bulk cell at thermal equilibrium, especially into the substrate. This weaker emission allows for a higher open circuit-voltage for the nanowire cell. As an end result, nanowires longer than 4 mu m can actually show, despite producing a lower short-circuit current, a higher efficiency limit, of up to 32.5%, than the bulk cell.},
  author       = {Anttu, Nicklas},
  issn         = {2330-4022},
  keyword      = {semiconductor,nanowire array,solar cell,Shockley-Queisser efficiency,limit},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {446--453},
  publisher    = {The American Chemical Society},
  series       = {ACS Photonics},
  title        = {Shockley-Queisser Detailed Balance Efficiency Limit for Nanowire Solar Cells},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ph5004835},
  volume       = {2},
  year         = {2015},
}