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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering

Front. Chem. Sci. Eng.    2020, Vol. 14 Issue (6) : 997-1005
Ultrathin microcrystalline hydrogenated Si/Ge alloyed tandem solar cells towards full solar spectrum conversion
Yu Cao1,2, Xinyun Zhu1,2, Xingyu Tong1,2, Jing Zhou3(), Jian Ni4, Jianjun Zhang4, Jinbo Pang5()
1. Key Laboratory of Modern Power System Simulation and Control & Renewable Energy Technology, Northeast Electric Power University, Jilin 132012, China
2. School of Electrical Engineering, Northeast Electric Power University, Jilin 132012, China
3. School of Chemical Engineering, Northeast Electric Power University, Jilin 132012, China
4. Key Laboratory of Photo-electronics Thin Film Devices and Technique of Tianjin, Institute of Photo-electronic Thin Film Devices and Technology, College of Electronic Information and Optical Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China
5. Collaborative Innovation Center of Technology and Equipment for Biological Diagnosis and Therapy in Universities of Shandong, Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research (iAIR), University of Jinan, Jinan 250022, China
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Thin film solar cells have been proved the next generation photovoltaic devices due to their low cost, less material consumption and easy mass production. Among them, micro-crystalline Si and Ge based thin film solar cells have advantages of high efficiency and ultrathin absorber layers. Yet individual junction devices are limited in photoelectric conversion efficiency because of the restricted solar spectrum range for its specific absorber. In this work, we designed and simulated a multi-junction solar cell with its four sub-cells selectively absorbing the full solar spectrum including the ultraviolet, green, red as well as near infrared range, respectively. By tuning the Ge content, the record efficiency of 24.80% has been realized with the typical quadruple junction structure of a-Si:H/a-Si0.9Ge0.1:H/µc-Si:H/µc-Si0.5Ge0.5:H. To further reduce the material cost, thickness dependent device performances have been conducted. It can be found that the design of total thickness of 4 mm is the optimal device design in balancing the thickness and the PCE. While the design of ultrathin quadruple junction device with total thickness of 2 mm is the optimized device design regarding cost and long-term stability with a little bit more reduction in PCE. These results indicated that our solar cells combine the advantages of low cost and high stability. Our work may provide a general guidance rule of utilizing the full solar spectrum for developing high efficiency and ultrathin multi-junction solar cells.

Keywords thin films      solar cells      quadruple junction solar cell      amorphous silicon      silicon germanium alloy      quantum efficiency     
Corresponding Author(s): Jing Zhou,Jinbo Pang   
Just Accepted Date: 02 December 2019   Online First Date: 25 February 2020    Issue Date: 11 September 2020
 Cite this article:   
Yu Cao,Xinyun Zhu,Xingyu Tong, et al. Ultrathin microcrystalline hydrogenated Si/Ge alloyed tandem solar cells towards full solar spectrum conversion[J]. Front. Chem. Sci. Eng., 2020, 14(6): 997-1005.
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Yu Cao
Xinyun Zhu
Xingyu Tong
Jing Zhou
Jian Ni
Jianjun Zhang
Jinbo Pang
Fig.1  Schematic of the silicon-based quadruple junction cell structure.
Fig.2  Contour maps of the performance of quadruple junction TFSCs with varied x and y values. (a) Jsc; (b) Voc; (c) fill factor (FF); (d) PCE.
Fig.3  The most optimal performance of the quadruple junction TFSCs, (a) J-V curve; (b) EQE curve.
Fig.4  Performance of each single junction sub-cell. (a) J-V curves; (b) EQE curves.
Device Thickness/mm Voc/V FF/% Jsc/(mA·cm–2) PCE/%
a-Si:H TFSC 0.15 1.143 88.34 12.37 12.49
a-Si0.9Ge0.1:H TFSC 0.98 1.071 86.11 21.89 20.18
µc-Si:H TFSC 2.20 0.514 78.57 35.49 14.35
µc-Si0.5Ge0.5:H TFSC 8.00 0.212 58.36 38.52 4.76
Tab.1  Parameters of each single sub-cell
Fig.5  The a-Si:H a-Si0.9Ge0.1:H/µc-Si:H/µc-Si0.5Ge0.5:H quadruple junction TFSCs with varied total thickness values. (a) J-V curves; (b) EQE curves.
Thickness/mm Voc/V FF/% Jsc/(mA·cm–2) PCE/%
8 (0.16/1.00/2.00/4.84) 2.857 82.10 10.51 24.66
6 (0.15/0.82/1.83/3.20) 2.866 82.21 10.29 24.23
4 (0.14/0.63/1.44/1.79) 2.876 82.79 9.82 23.38
2 (0.11/0.35/0.85/0.69) 2.883 84.06 8.69 21.07
Tab.2  The optimal performance of a-Si:H/a-Si0.9Ge0.1:H/µc-Si:H/µc-Si0.5Ge0.5:H quadruple junction TFSCs with varied total thickness values
Fig.6  The most optimal performances of the quadruple junction and triple junction TFSCs with a total thickness of 4 mm. (a) J-V curves; (b) EQE curves.
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