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Radiation Tolerant Nanowire Array Solar Cells

Espinet-Gonzalez, Pilar ; Barrigón, Enrique LU ; Otnes, Gaute LU ; Vescovi, Giuliano ; Mann, Colin ; France, Ryan M. ; Welch, Alex J. ; Hunt, Matthew S. ; Walker, Don and Kelzenberg, Michael D. , et al. (2019) In ACS Nano 13(11). p.12860-12869
Abstract

Space power systems require photovoltaics that are lightweight, efficient, reliable, and capable of operating for years or decades in space environment. Current solar panels use planar multijunction, III-V based solar cells with very high efficiency, but their specific power (power to weight ratio) is limited by the added mass of radiation shielding (e.g., coverglass) required to protect the cells from the high-energy particle radiation that occurs in space. Here, we demonstrate that III-V nanowire-array solar cells have dramatically superior radiation performance relative to planar solar cell designs and show this for multiple cell geometries and materials, including GaAs and InP. Nanowire cells exhibit damage thresholds ranging from... (More)

Space power systems require photovoltaics that are lightweight, efficient, reliable, and capable of operating for years or decades in space environment. Current solar panels use planar multijunction, III-V based solar cells with very high efficiency, but their specific power (power to weight ratio) is limited by the added mass of radiation shielding (e.g., coverglass) required to protect the cells from the high-energy particle radiation that occurs in space. Here, we demonstrate that III-V nanowire-array solar cells have dramatically superior radiation performance relative to planar solar cell designs and show this for multiple cell geometries and materials, including GaAs and InP. Nanowire cells exhibit damage thresholds ranging from ∼10-40 times higher than planar control solar cells when subjected to irradiation by 100-350 keV protons and 1 MeV electrons. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we show that this improvement is due in part to a reduction in the displacement density within the wires arising from their nanoscale dimensions. Radiation tolerance, combined with the efficient optical absorption and the improving performance of nanowire photovoltaics, indicates that nanowire arrays could provide a pathway to realize high-specific-power, substrate-free, III-V space solar cells with substantially reduced shielding requirements. More broadly, the exceptional reduction in radiation damage suggests that nanowire architectures may be useful in improving the radiation tolerance of other electronic and optoelectronic devices.

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publication status
published
subject
keywords
high specific power, irradiation-induced defects, Monte Carlo simulations, nanowire solar cells, radiation hard, space environment, space solar cells
in
ACS Nano
volume
13
issue
11
pages
10 pages
publisher
The American Chemical Society (ACS)
external identifiers
  • pmid:31626535
  • scopus:85074956493
ISSN
1936-0851
DOI
10.1021/acsnano.9b05213
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ae9ca057-6bc7-4846-8f4a-ade4b8a8906c
date added to LUP
2019-12-10 09:22:48
date last changed
2020-04-07 05:40:53
@article{ae9ca057-6bc7-4846-8f4a-ade4b8a8906c,
  abstract     = {<p>Space power systems require photovoltaics that are lightweight, efficient, reliable, and capable of operating for years or decades in space environment. Current solar panels use planar multijunction, III-V based solar cells with very high efficiency, but their specific power (power to weight ratio) is limited by the added mass of radiation shielding (e.g., coverglass) required to protect the cells from the high-energy particle radiation that occurs in space. Here, we demonstrate that III-V nanowire-array solar cells have dramatically superior radiation performance relative to planar solar cell designs and show this for multiple cell geometries and materials, including GaAs and InP. Nanowire cells exhibit damage thresholds ranging from ∼10-40 times higher than planar control solar cells when subjected to irradiation by 100-350 keV protons and 1 MeV electrons. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we show that this improvement is due in part to a reduction in the displacement density within the wires arising from their nanoscale dimensions. Radiation tolerance, combined with the efficient optical absorption and the improving performance of nanowire photovoltaics, indicates that nanowire arrays could provide a pathway to realize high-specific-power, substrate-free, III-V space solar cells with substantially reduced shielding requirements. More broadly, the exceptional reduction in radiation damage suggests that nanowire architectures may be useful in improving the radiation tolerance of other electronic and optoelectronic devices.</p>},
  author       = {Espinet-Gonzalez, Pilar and Barrigón, Enrique and Otnes, Gaute and Vescovi, Giuliano and Mann, Colin and France, Ryan M. and Welch, Alex J. and Hunt, Matthew S. and Walker, Don and Kelzenberg, Michael D. and Åberg, Ingvar and Borgström, Magnus T. and Samuelson, Lars and Atwater, Harry A.},
  issn         = {1936-0851},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {11},
  number       = {11},
  pages        = {12860--12869},
  publisher    = {The American Chemical Society (ACS)},
  series       = {ACS Nano},
  title        = {Radiation Tolerant Nanowire Array Solar Cells},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.9b05213},
  doi          = {10.1021/acsnano.9b05213},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {2019},
}