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Published June 2021 | public
Book Section - Chapter

Fundamental Photovoltaic Efficiency Limits Due to Semiconductor Band Tails


The theoretical maximum efficiency of a solar cell is given by the Shockley-Queisser limit, which assumes an abrupt onset of absorption near the band-edge. However, real materials always have an imperfect band-edge, which is usually characterized by an Urbach tail. By using optoelectronic reciprocity relations and explicitly accounting for band filling, we develop a modified detailed balance model that explicitly accounts for non-abrupt band-edges. We find that large band tails can result in an effective Stokes shift between the absorption onset and luminescence peak, which results in a penalty on the maximum efficiency of a solar cell.

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August 20, 2023
October 23, 2023