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Title: Tandem Microwire Solar Cells for Flexible High Efficiency Low Cost Photovoltaics

This project has developed components of a waferless, flexible, low-cost tandem multijunction III-V/Si microwire array solar cell technology which combines the efficiency of wafered III-V photovoltaic technologies with the process designed to meet the Sunshot object. The project focused on design of lattice-matched GaAsP/SiGe two junction cell design and lattice-mismatched GaInP/Si tandem cell design. Combined electromagnetic simulation/device physics models using realistic microwire tandem structures were developed that predict >22% conversion efficiency for known material parameters, such as tunnel junction structure, window layer structure, absorber lifetimes and optical absorption and these model indicate a clear path to 30% efficiency for high quality III-V heterostructures. SiGe microwire arrays were synthesized via Cu-catalyzed vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth with inexpensive chlorosilane and chlorogermance precursors in an atmospheric pressure reactor. SiGe alloy composition in microwires was found to be limited to a maximum of 12% Ge incorporation during chlorogermane growth, due to the melting of the alloy near the solidus composition. Lattice mismatched InGaP double heterostructures were grown by selective epitaxy with a thermal oxide mask on Si microwire substrates using metallorganic vapor phase epitaxy. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis confirms the growth of individual step graded layers and a high density of defects near themore » wire/III-V interface. Selective epitaxy was initiated with a low temperature nucleation scheme under “atomic layer epitaxy” or “flow mediated epitaxy” conditions whereby the Ga and P containing precursors are alternately introduced into the reactor to promote layer-bylayer growth. In parallel to our efforts on conformal GaInP heteroepitaxy on selectively masked Si microwires, we explored direct, axial growth of GaAs on Si wire arrays as another route to a tandem junction architecture. We proposed axial, lattice-mismatched growth of a GaAs segment that extrude out of a Si wire via a self-aligned SiO2 hollow cylindrical mask. With this growth strategy, misfit dislocations that would normally form at the GaAs/Si interface during thin film epitaxy may bend over to and thus terminate at the sidewall of the SiO2 tube. A reactive-ion etching technique was employed 1) to remove Si to form a hollow, self-aligned SiO2 cylindrical tube as a growth template for GaAs epitaxy using a vertical, showerhead, low-pressure metal-organic chemical-vapor deposition reactor that was operated at 0.1 atm. Successful epitaxy of axial GaAs wires on non-polar, <111>-oriented Si wire substrates was found at temperatures of ~850C. This and the other III-V/Si heterojunction wire synthesis strategies described here are promising approaches to realize future III-V/Si tandem solar cell designs.« less
  1. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States