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Semiconductor Science and Technology

  • Photovoltaïque

A Hot-Carrier Assisted InAs/AlGaAsQuantum-Dot Intermediate-Band Solar Cell

Auteurs B Behaghel, R Tamaki, H-L Chen, P Rale, L Lombez, Y Shoji, A Delamarre, A Cattoni, S Collin, Y Okada, et J-F Guillemoles


The intermediate-band assisted hot-carrier solar cell (IB-HCSC) concept has been proposed in order to assist the extraction of hot carriers from an absorber that has an intermediate band (IB). In this study, we used a heterostructure based on ten layers of In(Ga)As quantum dots (QDs) embedded in an Al0.2Ga0.8As single-junction solar cell designed for an intermediate band solar cell (IBSC). QD-IBSCs have proven to be limited by the thermal escape of photo-carriers from QDs at room temperature. In such cases, fundamental improvements in conversion efficiency are only possible if carriers in the IB are not in thermal equilibrium with either conduction or valence bands. Additionally, the IB-HCSC concept provides a high-efficiency limit and enables us to work with all relaxation mechanisms (thermalization, carrier-carrier scattering, and thermal radiation). Under high irradiation, we confirmed the emergence of a hot carrier population in the QDs, limited mostly by thermionic emission, which assists the IBSC by providing a thermoelectric gain in voltage without hindering the possibility of sequential two-photon absorption. Absolute intensity calibrated photoluminescence spectroscopy indicated that the triggering mechanism happens when the QD ensemble is estimated to have a high carrier concentration that behaves as a metal-like IB. Experimental results suggested that the hot carrier effect also occurred in other solar cells based on quantum heterostructures and directions for improvements of hot-carrier assisted QD-IBSCs are proposed for further efficiency gain in optimized device architectures.

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