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Journal of Applied Physics

  • Photovoltaics

Investigation of the spatial distribution of hot carriers in quantum-well structures via hyperspectral luminescence imaging

Authors Hamidreza Esmaielpour, Laurent Lombez, Maxime Giteau, Amaury Delamarre, Daniel Ory, Andrea Cattoni, Stéphane Collin, Jean-François Guillemoles, and Daniel Suchet


Observation of robust hot carrier effects in quantum-well structures has prompted hopes to increase the efficiency of solar cells beyond the Shockley–Queisser limit (33% for single junction solar cells at AM1.5G). One of the main studies in hot carrier effects is the determination of carrier temperature, which provides information on the thermalization mechanisms of hot carriers in semiconductor materials. Here, we investigate the spatial distribution of photo-generated hot carriers in a InGaAs multi-quantum-well structure via hyperspectral luminescence imaging. We discuss proper methods of extracting the temperature of carriers from a photoluminescence spectrum. Robust hot carrier effects are observed at the center of the laser spot at various lattice temperatures. In addition, it is seen that the local carrier temperature scales linearly with the local laser intensity as long as the illumination exceeds a threshold power; the carrier temperature at regions with local intensities below the threshold drops to the lattice temperature, i.e., experiences no hot carrier effects. Moreover, at large distances from the concentrated light, where the level of illumination is negligible, evidence of carrier radiative recombination is observed, which is attributed to carrier diffusion in the planar structure. The results of this study can be applied to investigate the influence of carrier diffusion and thermoelectric effects on the thermalization of hot carriers.

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