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GaTlAs Quantum Well Solar Cells for Sub-band Gap Absorption

  • Ahmed Zayan (a1) and Thomas E. Vandervelde (a1)

Abstract

Despite the improvements seen in efficiency of GaAs cells over the years, there remains room for improvement for it to approach the theoretical single junction limit posited by Shockley and Quiesser decades ago. One of the more pursued options is the growth of quantum wells within the structure of GaAs to enhance its photon absorption below its bandgap. Multiple Quantum Wells (MQW) have been an ongoing topic of research and discussion for the scientific community with structures like InGaAs/GaAs and InGaP/GaAs quantum wells producing promising results that could potentially improve overall energy conversion. Here, we used WEIN2K, a commercial density functional theory package, to study the ternary compound Ga1-xTlxAs and determine its electronic properties. Using these results combined with experimental confirmation we extend these properties to simulate its application to form a MQW GaAs/ Ga1-xTlxAs solar cell. Ga1-xTlxAs is a tunable ternary compound, with its bandgap being strongly dependent on the concentration of Tl present. Concentrations of Tl as low as 7% can reduce the bandgap of Ga1-xTlxAs to roughly 1.30 eV from GaAs’s 1.45 eV at room temperature with as little as a 1.7% increase in lattice constant. The change in bandgap, accompanied by the relatively small change in lattice constant makes Ga1-xTlxAs a strong candidate for a MQW cell with little to no strain balancing required within the structure to minimize unwanted defects that impede charge collection within the device. Our GaAs photodiode with TlGaAs MQWs shows an expanded absorption band and improved conversion efficiency over the standard GaAs photovoltaic cell with dilute concentrations of Tl incorporated into the compound.

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Keywords

GaTlAs Quantum Well Solar Cells for Sub-band Gap Absorption

  • Ahmed Zayan (a1) and Thomas E. Vandervelde (a1)

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