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Limiting efficiencies for intermediate band solar cells with partial absorptivity: the case for a quantum ratchet

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Title: Limiting efficiencies for intermediate band solar cells with partial absorptivity: the case for a quantum ratchet
Authors: Pusch, A
Yoshida, M
Hylton, NP
Mellor, A
Phillips, CC
Hess, O
Ekins-Daukes, NJ
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The intermediate band solar cell (IBSC) concept aims to improve upon the Shockley–Queisser limit for single bandgap solar cells by also making use of below bandgap photons through sequential absorption processes via an intermediate band (IB). Current proposals for IBSCs suffer from low absorptivity values for transitions into and out of the IB. We therefore devise and evaluate a general, implementation‐independent thermodynamic model for an absorptivity‐constrained limiting efficiency of an IBSC to study the impact of absorptivity limitations on IBSCs. We find that, due to radiative recombination via the IB, conventional IBSCs cannot surpass the Shockley–Queisser limit at an illumination of one Sun unless the absorptivity from the valence band to the IB and the IB to the conduction band exceeds ≈36%. In contrast, the introduction of a quantum ratchet into the IBSC to suppress radiative recombination can enhance the efficiency of an IBSC beyond the Shockley–Queisser limit for any value of the IB absorptivity. Thus, the quantum ratchet could be the vital next step to engineer IBSCs that are more efficient than conventional single‐gap solar cells.
Issue Date: 1-May-2016
Date of Acceptance: 30-Dec-2015
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/28839
DOI: 10.1002/pip.2751
ISSN: 1099-159X
Publisher: Wiley
Start Page: 656
End Page: 662
Journal / Book Title: Progress in Photovoltaics
Volume: 24
Issue: 5
Copyright Statement: © 2016 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Sponsor/Funder: The Royal Society
Commission of the European Communities
European Office Of Aerospace Research & Developmen
Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
The Leverhulme Trust
Funder's Grant Number: IF140092
F/07 058/BK
Keywords: Science & Technology
Physical Sciences
Energy & Fuels
Materials Science, Multidisciplinary
Physics, Applied
Materials Science
intermediate band solar cell
limiting efficiency
quantum ratchet
0204 Condensed Matter Physics
0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering
0912 Materials Engineering
Applied Physics
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2016-02-10
Appears in Collections:Condensed Matter Theory
Experimental Solid State
Grantham Institute for Climate Change
Faculty of Natural Sciences
Faculty of Engineering