Detailed balance efficiency limits with quasi-Fermi level variations

Stephen P. Bremner, Richard Corkish, Christiana B. Honsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


A central assumption in detailed balance efficiency limit calculations has been that the light generated carriers are collected by drift transport processes and have an infinite mobility, giving rise to constant quasi-Fermi levels (QFL's) across the solar cell. However, recent experimental and theoretical results for quantum well (QW) devices indicate that the QFL's need not be constant across the device. It is shown in this paper that transport mechanisms which cause a variation in the difference between the electron and hole QFL's give an increase in the limiting efficiency compared to previous detailed balance calculations. Further, QW solar cells which employ hot carrier transport across a well will have an efficiency limit in excess of a tandem solar cell while using the same number of semiconductor materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1932-1939
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electron Devices
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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