Intraband absorption in solar cells with an intermediate band

Michael Y. Levy, Christiana Honsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This article presents a thermodynamic treatment of an intermediate band solar cell that includes photoinduced electronic transitions between two distinct states of the intermediate band. The treatment also allows for two black-body sources, interband photoinduced electronic transitions, overlapping absorption coefficients, multiple electron-hole pair generation, and nonradiative processes. A schematic of the device's thermodynamic configuration shows that the solar cell is composed of three particle engines operating in tandem. The authors present detailed-balance results where it is assumed that when there is the physical possibility of both photoinduced intra- and interband electronic transitions at intermediate levels that the latter predominates. Results indicate that as the intermediate band's width increases, the efficiencies saturate to those of two-stack tandem solar cells while the band structures approach that of a material that should operate as a black body. The authors conclude that the assumption that interband transitions predominate over intraband transitions, which is equivalent to ignoring or excluding intraband transitions, may yield results inconsistent with physical reality. The larger the difference between the intermediate band width and the smallest band gap in the system, the more pronounced will be the inconsistency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113103
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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