Geometric photovoltaics applied to amorphous silicon thin film solar cells
Kirkpatrick, Timothy. “Geometric photovoltaics applied to amorphous silicon thin film solar cells”, Boston College, 2012. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/2892.
Geometrically generalized analytical expressions for device transport are derived from first principles for a photovoltaic junction. Subsequently, conventional planar and unconventional coaxial and hemispherical photovoltaic architectures are applied to detail the device physics of the junction based on their respective geometry. For the conventional planar cell, the one-dimensional transport equations governing carrier dynamics are recovered. For the unconventional coaxial and hemispherical junction designs, new multi-dimensional transport equations are revealed. Physical effects such as carrier generation and recombination are compared for each cell architecture, providing insight as to how non-planar junctions may potentially enable greater energy conversion efficiencies. Numerical simulations are performed for arrays of vertically aligned, nanostructured coaxial and hemispherical amorphous silicon solar cells and results are compared to those from simulations performed for the standard planar junction. Results indicate that fundamental physical changes in the spatial dependence of the energy band profile across the intrinsic region of an amorphous silicon p-i-n junction manifest as an increase in recombination current for non-planar photovoltaic architectures. Despite an increase in recombination current, however, the coaxial architecture still appears to be able to surpass the efficiency predicted for the planar geometry, due to the geometry of the junction leading to a decoupling of optics and electronics.