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Published January 8, 2021 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Impact of Semiconductor Band Tails and Band Filling on Photovoltaic Efficiency Limits


Since the seminal work of Shockley and Queisser, assessing the detailed balance between absorbed and emitted radiative fluxes from a photovoltaic absorber has been the standard method for evaluating solar cell efficiency limits. The principle of detailed balance is one dictated by reciprocity and steady state, so that photons can be absorbed and emitted with equal probability. This basic principle has also been extended to evaluate the effects of multiple junctions, hot carriers, nanostructured geometries, multiexciton generation, subunity radiative efficiency, and many other solar cell configurations and nonidealities to estimate limiting efficiencies via modifications to the detailed balance model.

Additional Information

© 2020 American Chemical Society. Received: November 10, 2020; Accepted: November 19, 2020; Published: December 2, 2020. This work is part of the "Photonics at Thermodynamic Limits" Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award Number DE-SC0019140. J.W. acknowledges additional support from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. 1144469. Author Contributions: J.W. and S.T.O. contributed equally. J.W. and S.T.O. developed the ideas and formulism and performed the calculations for all the results shown in this work. H.A.A supervised all the calculations and analysis. J.W. wrote the manuscript, with input from S.T.O and H.A.A. All authors contributed to the discussion and interpretation of results, as well as the presentation and preparation of the manuscript. Views expressed in this Viewpoint are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of the ACS. The authors declare no competing financial interest.

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