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Effects of angular confinement and concentration to realistic solar cells
In standard solar cells, light impinges under a very small angular range, whereas the solar cell emits light into the whole half space. Due to this expansion of etendue, entropy is generated, which limits the maximal efficiency of solar cells. This limit can be overcome by either increasing the angle of incidence by concentration or by decreasing the angle of emission by an angularly confining element or by a combination of both. In an ideal solar cell with radiative recombination as the only loss mechanism, angular confinement and concentration are thermodynamically equivalent. It is shown that concentration in a device, where non-radiative losses such as Shockley-Read-Hall and Auger recombination are considered, is not equivalent to angular confinement. As soon as non-radiative losses are considered, the gain in efficiency due to angular confinement drops significantly in contrast to the gain caused by concentration. With the help of detailed balance calculations, it is furthermore shown that angular confinement can help to increase the efficiency of solar cells under concentrated sunlight even if no measurable gain is expected for the solar cell under 1-sun-illumination. Our analysis predicts a relative gain of 3.14% relative in efficiency for a realistic solar cell with a concentration factor of 500.