Date of Award
Master of Science
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Ronald A. Coutu, PhD.
Although existing technology can produce highly efficient solar cells, they remain commercially cost-prohibitive. A low-cost alternative was investigated in this research by developing a novel hybrid multi-junction silicon (HMJ-Si) solar cell architecture through modeling, fabrication, and testing. The architecture consists of stacked silicon solar cells with an air gap between them and was designed with metal grating contacts that exploit interference patterns for light management. The interference patterns were examined in MATLAB and verified using Lumerical FDTD Solutions. Development focused on wafer configuration; diffusion profile; front contact design; optical, electrical, and thermal loss reduction; and efficiency. The architecture was optimized using an unpolished-front, p-type top cell with 128nm of Si3N4, a butterfly front contact, and 400 m grating spaced 900 m apart; a polished-front, n-type bottom cell with 200 m grating spaced 1100 m apart; and both cells having an enhanced back surface field diffusion profile with 500nm silver contacts. Efficiency peaked at 8.42% using a silver-coated wafer in lieu of the bottom cell. The results indicate that the architecture is a viable solar cell design requiring additional research for optimization.
DTIC Accession Number
LaFleur, Robert S., "Development of a Novel Hybrid Multi-Junction Architecture for Silicon Solar Cells" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 41.