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Proceedings Paper

Potential of hafnium nitride for the hot carrier solar cell
Author(s): Simon Chung; Santosh Shrestha; Hongze Xia; Neeti Gupta; Gavin Conibeer
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Paper Abstract

The Hot Carrier solar cell is a third generation photovoltaic concept which has the potential to achieve high efficiencies, exceeding the Shockley-Queisser limit for a conventional p-n junction solar cell. The theoretical efficiencies achievable for the Hot Carrier solar cell is 65% for non-concentrated solar radiation and 85% for maximally concentrated light, very close to the limits of an infinite tandem solar cell. The approach of the Hot Carrier solar cell is to extract carriers generated before thermalisation to the bandgap edge occurs when their excess energy is lost to the environment as heat. To achieve this, the rate of carrier cooling in the absorber must be slowed down sufficiently enough to allow carriers to be collected while they are hot. This work investigates using hafnium nitride as such an absorber to restrict mechanisms of carrier cooling. Hafnium nitride’s phononic properties, where a large ‘phononic band gap’ exist can reduce the carrier cooling rate by means of a phonon bottleneck such that optical phonons cannot decay into acoustic phonons by means of the Klemens’ mechanism. Optical phonon-electron scattering can maintain a hot electron population while acoustic phonons are irrecoverable and lost as heat. The electronic and phononic properties of hafnium nitride are evaluated for their suitability to be used in a Hot Carrier solar cell absorber. Recent work on the fabrication of hafnium nitride at UNSW is presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 December 2013
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 8923, Micro/Nano Materials, Devices, and Systems, 89232I (7 December 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2034714
Show Author Affiliations
Simon Chung, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Santosh Shrestha, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Hongze Xia, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Neeti Gupta, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Gavin Conibeer, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8923:
Micro/Nano Materials, Devices, and Systems
James Friend; H. Hoe Tan, Editor(s)

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