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Proceedings Paper

Combined optical-electrical finite-element simulations of thin-film solar cells: preliminary results
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Paper Abstract

A two-dimensional finite-element model was developed to simulate both the optical and electrical characteristics of thin-film, p-i-n junction, solar cells. For a preliminary assessment of the model’s capabilities, one or more p-i-n junctions were allowed to fill the region between the front and back surfaces; the semiconductor layers were taken to be made from mixtures of three 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 taken to be attached to the front surface of the solar cell; and a metallic reflector, which may be periodically corrugated, was supposed to be attached to the back surface. First the frequency-domain Maxwell postulates were solved in order to determine the absorption of solar photons and the subsequent generation of electron-hole pairs, with the AM1.5G solar spectrum taken to represent the incident solar flux. Next, the drift-diffusion equations were solved to track the evolution of electron and hole densities to a steady state. Preliminary numerical results from our model indicate that by increasing the number of p-i-n junctions from one to three, the solar-cell efficiency may be increased. The efficiency may be further increased by incorporating a periodically-corrugated back reflector, as opposed to a flat back reflector, in the case of a single p-i-n junction solar cell. We plan to apply the two-dimensional finite-element model for more complicated solar cells.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 September 2015
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9561, Thin Films for Solar and Energy Technology VII, 956102 (5 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2187778
Show Author Affiliations
Tom 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)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9561:
Thin Films for Solar and Energy Technology VII
Louay A. Eldada; Michael J. Heben, Editor(s)

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