GaAs thermophotovoltaic patterned dielectric back contact devices with improved sub-bandgap reflectance

Madhan K. Arulanandam, Myles A. Steiner, Eric J. Tervo, Alexandra R. Young, Leah Y. Kuritzky, Emmett E. Perl, Tarun C. Narayan, Brendan M. Kayes, Justin A. Briggs, Richard R. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We demonstrate GaAs thermophotovoltaic (TPV) devices with a patterned dielectric back contact (PDBC) architecture, featuring a dielectric spacer between the semiconductor and back metal contact over most of the back surface for high reflectance, and metal point contacts over a smaller area for electrical conduction. In the TPV application, high sub-bandgap reflectance is needed to reflect unused sub-bandgap photons to the thermal emitter to minimize energy losses in this portion of the thermal spectrum. We explore different PDBC fabrication processes with SU-8 and SiO2 dielectric spacer layers to maximize sub-bandgap reflectance while minimizing series resistance to increase TPV conversion efficiency. We successfully demonstrate GaAs SU-8 PDBC TPV devices with 2200 °C blackbody-weighted sub-bandgap reflectance of 94.9% and 96.5% with and without a front metal grid, respectively. This is 0.7% and 2.3% (absolute) higher than the mean sub-bandgap reflectance of 94.2% for GaAs baseline TPV devices with 100% Au back contact with front metal grid. Lower sub-bandgap reflectance in TPV devices with front grids indicates the front grid induces light scattering leading to additional parasitic absorption in the TPV device. We also show that for higher contact coverage fractions, the PDBC reflectance cannot in general be treated by a linear interpolation using simple 1D transfer matrix method modeling and should be treated instead as a diffraction grating by solving Maxwell's equations in 3D.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111545
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Dielectric-point contact mirrors
  • Energy storage
  • Free-carrier absorption
  • Infrared reflectance
  • SU-8 photoresist
  • Series resistance
  • Thermophotovoltaics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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