All-silicon tandem solar cells: practical limits for energy conversion and possible routes for improvement

Xuguang Jia, Binesh Puthen-Veettil, Hongze Xia, Terry Chien-Jen Yang, Ziyun Lin, Tian Zhang, Lingfeng Wu, Keita Nomoto, Gavin Conibeer, Ivan Perez-Wurfl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Silicon nanocrystals (Si NCs) embedded in a dielectric matrix is regarded as one of the most promising materials for the third generation photovoltaics, owing to their tunable bandgap that allows fabrication of optimized tandem devices. Previous work has demonstrated fabrication of Si NCs based tandem solar cells by sputter-annealing of thin multi-layers of silicon rich oxide and SiO2. However, these device efficiencies were much lower than expected given that their theoretical values are much higher. Thus, it is necessary to understand the practical conversion efficiency limits for these devices. In this article, practical efficiency limits of Si NC based double junction tandem cells determined by fundamental material properties such as minority carrier, mobility, and lifetime are investigated. The practical conversion efficiency limits for these devices are significantly different from the reported efficiency limits which use Shockley-Queisser assumptions. Results show that the practical efficiency limit of a double junction cell (1.6 eV Si NC top cell and a 25% efficient c-Si PERL cell as the bottom cell) is 32%. Based on these results suggestions for improvement to the performance of Si nanocrystal based tandem solar cells in terms of the different parameters that were simulated are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number233102
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number23
Early online date16 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


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