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Radiation Tolerant Nanowire Array Solar Cells

Espinet-González, Pilar and Barrigon, 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. (2019) Radiation Tolerant Nanowire Array Solar Cells. ACS Nano, 13 (11). pp. 12860-12869. ISSN 1936-0851. doi:10.1021/acsnano.9b05213.

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[img] PDF (1) Characteristic parameters of the different solar cell architectures before and after irradiation tests; (2) empirical correlation of the degradation of planar and NW GaAs solar cells under the irradiation with protons of 100 and 350 keV; (3) cross...) - Supplemental Material
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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.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Espinet-González, Pilar0000-0002-7656-0077
Barrigon, Enrique0000-0001-6755-1841
Otnes, Gaute0000-0002-4241-5234
Vescovi, Giuliano0000-0001-9556-0710
France, Ryan M.0000-0002-2040-4809
Welch, Alex J.0000-0003-2132-9617
Kelzenberg, Michael D.0000-0002-6249-2827
Åberg, Ingvar0000-0003-2596-7552
Borgström, Magnus T.0000-0001-8061-0746
Samuelson, Lars0000-0003-1971-9894
Atwater, Harry A.0000-0001-9435-0201
Additional Information:© 2019 American Chemical Society. Received: July 2, 2019; Accepted: October 18, 2019; Published: October 18, 2019. The authors acknowledge financial support from the Caltech Space Solar Power Project. The work performed within NanoLund was supported by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF), and the Swedish Energy Agency. This research has been funded by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement 641023 (Nano-Tandem) and under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement 656208. This publication reflects only the authors’ views and the funding agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. We acknowledge critical support and infrastructure provided for this work by the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech. We acknowledge the helpful contributions of J. Lloyd with the solar cell processing of the ELO GaAs solar cells at Caltech. We acknowledge The Aerospace Corporation for the irradiation test with protons and Boeing Radiation Effects Laboratory for the irradiation with electrons. This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308 with Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, the operator of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The authors declare no competing financial interest.
Group:Space Solar Power Project, Kavli Nanoscience Institute
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Space Solar Power ProjectUNSPECIFIED
Swedish Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
Swedish Foundation for Strategic ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Swedish Energy AgencyUNSPECIFIED
Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationUNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)641023
Marie Curie Fellowship656208
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC36-08GO28308
Subject Keywords:nanowire solar cells, radiation hard, space environment, space solar cells, high specific power, irradiation-induced defects, Monte Carlo simulations
Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191022-160403991
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Radiation Tolerant Nanowire Array Solar Cells. Pilar Espinet-Gonzalez, Enrique Barrigón, Gaute Otnes, Giuliano Vescovi, Colin Mann, Ryan M. France, Alex J. Welch, Matthew S. Hunt, Don Walker, Michael D. Kelzenberg, Ingvar Åberg, Magnus T. Borgström, Lars Samuelson, and Harry A. Atwater. ACS Nano 2019 13 (11), 12860-12869. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.9b05213
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:99400
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Oct 2019 16:40
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:46

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