Development of Germanium-Based Wafer-Bonded Four-Junction Solar Cells
Multijunction solar cells with four junctions are expected to be the next-generation technology for both space and concentrator photovoltaic applications. Most commercial triple junction solar cells are today grown on germanium, which also forms the bottom subcell. Extending this concept to four junctions with an additional∼1-eV subcell was proven to be challenging. We investigate a new cell concept, which uses direct wafer bonding to combine a metamorphic GaInAs/Ge bottom tandem solar cell with a GaInP/AlGaAs top tandem on GaAs resulting in a monolithic four-junction cell on germanium. This article summarizes results of the cell developments, which have been resulting in a four-junction concentrator cell with 42% efficiency. We implemented a new passivated Ge backside technology to enhance the current generation in the Ge junction, and we propose realistic steps to realize solar cells with 45% efficiency using this cell architecture.