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InP nanowire array solar cells achieving 13.8% efficiency by exceeding the ray optics limit

: Wallentin, J.; Anttu, N.; Asoli, D.; Huffman, M.; Aberg, I.; Magnusson, M.H.; Siefer, G.; Fuss-Kailuweit, P.; Dimroth, F.; Witzigmann, B.; Xu, H.Q.; Samuelson, L.; Deppert, K.; Borgström, M.T.


Science 339 (2013), No.6123, pp.1057-1060
ISSN: 0036-8075
European Commission EC
FP7-NMP; 214814; AMON-RA
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Materialien - Solarzellen und Technologie; alternative Photovoltaik-Technologie; Solarzelle und Bauelement; Farbstoff; Organische und Neuartige Solarzellen; III-V Epitaxie und Solarzellen

Photovoltaics based on nanowire arrays could reduce cost and materials consumption compared with planar devices but have exhibited low efficiency of light absorption and carrier collection. We fabricated a variety of millimeter-sized arrays of p-type/intrinsic/n-type (p-i-n) doped InP nanowires and found that the nanowire diameter and the length of the top n-segment were critical for cell performance. Efficiencies up to 13.8% (comparable to the record planar InP cell) were achieved by using resonant light trapping in 180-nanometer-diameter nanowires that only covered 12% of the surface. The share of sunlight converted into photocurrent (71%) was six times the limit in a simple ray optics description. Furthermore, the highest open-circuit voltage of 0.906 volt exceeds that of its planar counterpart, despite about 30 times higher surface-to-volume ratio of the nanowire cell.