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Title: Radiation Tolerant Nanowire Array Solar Cells

Abstract

Space power systems require photovoltaics that are lightweight, efficient, reliable, and capable of operating for years or decades in space environment. Current solar panels use planar multi-junction, III-V based solar cells with very high efficiency, but their specific power (power to weight ratio) is limited by the added mass of radiation shielding (e.g. coverglass) required to protect the cells from the high-energy particle radiation that occurs in space. Here we demonstrate that III-V nanowire-array solar cells have dramatically superior radiation performance relative to planar solar cell designs and show this for multiple cell geometries and materials, including GaAs and InP. Nanowire cells exhibit damage thresholds ranging from ~10-40 times higher than planar control solar cells when subjected to irradiation by 100-350 keV protons and 1 MeV electrons. Furthermore, using Monte Carlo simulations, we show that this improvement is due in part to a reduction in the displacement defect generation within the wires arising from their nanoscale dimensions. Radiation tolerance, combined with the efficient optical absorption and the improving performance of nanowire photovoltaics, indicates that nanowire arrays could provide a pathway to realize high-specific-power, substrate-free, III-V space solar cells with substantially reduced shielding requirements. More broadly, the exceptional reduction in radiationmore » damage suggests that nanowire architectures may be useful in improving the radiation tolerance of other electronic and optoelectronic devices.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4];  [5]; ORCiD logo [6]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [5];  [1];  [4]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [7]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
  2. Lund Univ., Lund (Sweden)
  3. Lund Univ., Lund (Sweden); Inst. for Energy Technology, Kjeller (Norway)
  4. Sol Voltaics AB, Lund (Sweden)
  5. The Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA (United States)
  6. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  7. Lund Univ., Lund (Sweden); Sol Voltaics AB, Lund (Sweden)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Defense Programs (DP)
OSTI Identifier:
1572270
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5900-73775
Journal ID: ISSN 1936-0851
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
ACS Nano
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: ACS Nano; Journal ID: ISSN 1936-0851
Publisher:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; nanowire solar cells; radiation hard; space environment; space solar cells; high specific power; irradiation-induced defects; Monte Carlo simulations

Citation Formats

Espinet-Gonzalez, Pilar, Barrigón, Enrique, Otnes, Gaute, Vescovi, Giuliano, Mann, Colin, France, Ryan M., Welch, Alex J., Hunt, Matthew S., Walker, Don, Kelzenberg, Michael D., Åberg, Ingvar, Borgström, Magnus T., Samuelson, Lars, and Atwater, Harry A. Radiation Tolerant Nanowire Array Solar Cells. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1021/acsnano.9b05213.
Espinet-Gonzalez, Pilar, Barrigón, Enrique, Otnes, Gaute, Vescovi, Giuliano, Mann, Colin, France, Ryan M., Welch, Alex J., Hunt, Matthew S., Walker, Don, Kelzenberg, Michael D., Åberg, Ingvar, Borgström, Magnus T., Samuelson, Lars, & Atwater, Harry A. Radiation Tolerant Nanowire Array Solar Cells. United States. doi:10.1021/acsnano.9b05213.
Espinet-Gonzalez, Pilar, Barrigón, Enrique, Otnes, Gaute, Vescovi, Giuliano, Mann, Colin, France, Ryan M., Welch, Alex J., Hunt, Matthew S., Walker, Don, Kelzenberg, Michael D., Åberg, Ingvar, Borgström, Magnus T., Samuelson, Lars, and Atwater, Harry A. Fri . "Radiation Tolerant Nanowire Array Solar Cells". United States. doi:10.1021/acsnano.9b05213.
@article{osti_1572270,
title = {Radiation Tolerant Nanowire Array Solar Cells},
author = {Espinet-Gonzalez, Pilar and Barrigón, Enrique and Otnes, Gaute and Vescovi, Giuliano and Mann, Colin and France, Ryan M. and Welch, Alex J. and Hunt, Matthew S. and Walker, Don and Kelzenberg, Michael D. and Åberg, Ingvar and Borgström, Magnus T. and Samuelson, Lars and Atwater, Harry A.},
abstractNote = {Space power systems require photovoltaics that are lightweight, efficient, reliable, and capable of operating for years or decades in space environment. Current solar panels use planar multi-junction, III-V based solar cells with very high efficiency, but their specific power (power to weight ratio) is limited by the added mass of radiation shielding (e.g. coverglass) required to protect the cells from the high-energy particle radiation that occurs in space. Here we demonstrate that III-V nanowire-array solar cells have dramatically superior radiation performance relative to planar solar cell designs and show this for multiple cell geometries and materials, including GaAs and InP. Nanowire cells exhibit damage thresholds ranging from ~10-40 times higher than planar control solar cells when subjected to irradiation by 100-350 keV protons and 1 MeV electrons. Furthermore, using Monte Carlo simulations, we show that this improvement is due in part to a reduction in the displacement defect generation within the wires arising from their nanoscale dimensions. Radiation tolerance, combined with the efficient optical absorption and the improving performance of nanowire photovoltaics, indicates that nanowire arrays could provide a pathway to realize high-specific-power, substrate-free, III-V space solar cells with substantially reduced shielding requirements. More broadly, the exceptional reduction in radiation damage suggests that nanowire architectures may be useful in improving the radiation tolerance of other electronic and optoelectronic devices.},
doi = {10.1021/acsnano.9b05213},
journal = {ACS Nano},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {10}
}

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This content will become publicly available on October 18, 2020
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