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Proceedings Paper

Photon extraction: the key physics for approaching solar cell efficiency limits
Author(s): Owen D. Miller; Eli Yablonovitch
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Paper Abstract

Theoretical efficiency limits are useful primarily because they provide a means for selecting which technologies to pursue, and they are a driving force for further progress. Yet implicit in such a process is the assumption that the upper limit provides a realistic estimate of potential performance. Real systems will never be perfect, but small deviations in material quality or optical design should yield only small deviations in performance. Shockley-Queisser efficiencies are not robust to small deviations. Although they provide a simple calculational tool, they obscure important internal dynamics. We examine these dynamics, resulting in a surprising conclusion: instead of considering external emission as a loss mechanism, it should actually be designed for. A solar cell must have almost perfect photon extraction, or it will fall far short of the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 September 2013
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8808, Active Photonic Materials V, 880807 (11 September 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2024592
Show Author Affiliations
Owen D. Miller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Eli Yablonovitch, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (United States)
Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8808:
Active Photonic Materials V
Ganapathi S. Subramania; Stavroula Foteinopoulou, Editor(s)

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