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Published October 20, 2014 | Published
Journal Article Open

Mesoscale modeling of photoelectrochemical devices: light absorption and carrier collection in monolithic, tandem, Si|WO_3 microwires


We analyze mesoscale light absorption and carrier collection in a tandem junction photoelectrochemical device using electromagnetic simulations. The tandem device consists of silicon (E_(g,Si) = 1.1 eV) and tungsten oxide (E_(g,WO3) = 2.6 eV) as photocathode and photoanode materials, respectively. Specifically, we investigated Si microwires with lengths of 100 µm, and diameters of 2 µm, with a 7 µm pitch, covered vertically with 50 µm of WO_3 with a thickness of 1 µm. Many geometrical variants of this prototypical tandem device were explored. For conditions of illumination with the AM 1.5G spectra, the nominal design resulted in a short circuit current density, J_(SC), of 1 mA/cm^2, which is limited by the WO_3 absorption. Geometrical optimization of photoanode and photocathode shape and contact material selection, enabled a three-fold increase in short circuit current density relative to the initial design via enhanced WO_3 light absorption. These findings validate the usefulness of a mesoscale analysis for ascertaining optimum optoelectronic performance in photoelectrochemical devices.

Additional Information

© 2014 Optical Society of America. Received 23 Jul 2014; accepted 23 Aug 2014; published 5 Sep 2014. This material is based upon work performed by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, supported through the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Award No. DE-SC0004993. K.T.F. is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-1144469. C.G.K. was supported by a Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

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August 20, 2023
October 18, 2023