GaP/Si wire array solar cells
Si wire arrays have recently demonstrated their potential as photovoltaic devices [1-3]. Using these arrays as a base, we consider a next generation, multijunction wire array architecture consisting of Si wire arrays with a conformal GaN_xP_(1-x-y)As_y coating. Optical absorption and device physics simulations provide insight into the design of such devices. In particular, the simulations show that much of the solar spectrum can be absorbed as the angle of illumination is varied and that an appropriate choice of coating thickness and composition will lead to current matching conditions and hence provide a realistic path to high efficiencies. We have previously demonstrated high fidelity, high aspect ratio Si wire arrays grown by vapor-liquid-solid techniques, and we have now successfully grown conformal GaP coatings on these wires as a precursor to considering quaternary compound growth. Structural, optical, and electrical characterization of these GaP/Si wire array heterostructures, including x-ray diffraction, Hall measurements, and optical absorption of polymer-embedded wire arrays using an integrating sphere were performed. The GaP epilayers have high structural and electrical quality and the ability to absorb a significant amount of the solar spectrum, making them promising for future multijunction wire array solar cells.
Additional Information© 2010 IEEE. Issue Date: 20-25 June 2010. Date of Current Version: 01 November 2010. The authors would like to acknowledge Greg Kimball and Emily Warmann for help with material characterization. This work was supported by the Defense Sciences Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). D.T.E. acknowledges support for from the National Science Foundation in the form of a graduate research fellowship.