Limits to the efficiency of silicon multilayer thin film solar cells

S. R. Wenham, M. A. Green, S. Edmiston, P. Campbell, L. Koschier, C. B. Honsberg, A. B. Sproul, D. Thorpe, Z. Shi, G. Heiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Thin film crystalline silicon solar cells can only achieve high efficiencies if light trapping can be used to give a long optical path length, while simultaneously achieving near unity collection probabilities for all generated carriers. This necessitates a supporting substrate of a foreign material, with refractive index compatible with light trapping schemes for the silicon. The resulting inability to nucleate growth of crystalline silicon films of good crystallographic quality on such foreign substrates, at present, prevents the achievement of high efficiency devices using conventional single junction solar cell structures. The parallel multijunction solar cell provides a new approach for achieving high efficiencies from very poor quality material, with near unity collection probabilities for all generated carriers achieved through appropriate junction spacing. Heavy doping is used to minimise the dark saturation current contribution from the layers, therefore allowing respectable voltages. The design strategy, corresponding advantages, theoretical predictions and experimental results are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
StatePublished - Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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