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Journal of Photonics for Energy • Open Access

Combined optical–electrical finite-element simulations of thin-film solar cells with homogeneous and nonhomogeneous intrinsic layers

Paper Abstract

A two-dimensional finite-element model was developed to simulate the optoelectronic performance of thin-film, p-i-n junction solar cells. One or three p-i-n junctions filled the region between the front window and back reflector; semiconductor layers were made from mixtures of two different alloys of hydrogenated amorphous silicon; empirical relationships between the complex-valued relative optical permittivity and the bandgap were used; a transparent-conducting-oxide layer was attached to the front surface of the solar cell; and a metallic reflector, either flat or periodically corrugated, was attached to the back surface. First, frequency-domain Maxwell postulates were solved to determine the spatial absorption of photons and thus the generation of electron–hole pairs. The AM1.5G solar spectrum was taken to represent the incident solar flux. Second, drift-diffusion equations were solved for the steady-state electron and hole densities. Numerical results indicate that increasing the number of p-i-n junctions from one to three may increase the solar-cell efficiency by up to 14%. In the case of single p-i-n junction solar cells, our simulations indicate that efficiency may be increased by up to 17% by incorporating a periodically corrugated back reflector (as opposed to a flat back reflector) and by tailoring the bandgap profile in the i layer.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 May 2016
PDF: 17 pages
J. Photon. Energy 6(2) 025502 doi: 10.1117/1.JPE.6.025502
Published in: Journal of Photonics for Energy Volume 6, Issue 2
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas H. Anderson, The Univ. of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Muhammad Faryad, Lahore Univ. of Management Sciences (Pakistan)
Tom G. Mackay, The Univ. of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Akhlesh Lakhtakia, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Rajendra Singh, Clemson Univ. (United States)

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