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Published May 2008 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Single-nanowire Si solar cells


Solar cells based on arrays of CVD-grown Si nano- or micro-wires are being considered as a potentially low-cost route to implementing a vertical multijunction cell design via radial p-n junctions. This geometry has been predicted to enable efficiencies competitive with planar multicrystalline Si designs, while reducing the materials and processing costs of solar cell fabrication [1]. To further assess the potential efficiency of cells based on this design, we present here experimental measurements of minority carrier diffusion lengths and surface recombination rates within nanowires via fabrication and characterization of single-wire solar cell devices. Furthermore, we consider a potential Si wire array-based solar cell design, and present device physics modeling of single-wire photovoltaic efficiency. Based on experimentally observed diffusion lengths within our wires, we model a radial junction wire solar cell capable of 17% photovoltaic energy conversion efficiency.

Additional Information

© 2008 IEEE. This work was supported by BP, the Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, and the Center for Science and Engineering of Materials, an NSF Materi­als Research Science and Engineering Center at Caltech.

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