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Advanced Silicon Solar Cell Device Physics and Design


Deceglie, Michael Gardner (2013) Advanced Silicon Solar Cell Device Physics and Design. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/PV2J-1429.


A fundamental challenge in the development and deployment of solar photovoltaic technology is a reduction in cost enabling direct competition with fossil-fuel-based energy sources. A key driver in this cost reduction is optimized device efficiency, because increased energy output leverages all photovoltaic system costs, from raw materials and module manufacturing to installation and maintenance. To continue progress toward higher conversion efficiencies, solar cells are being fabricated with increasingly complex designs, including engineered nanostructures, heterojunctions, and novel contacting and passivation schemes. Such advanced designs require a comprehensive and unified understanding of the optical and electrical device physics at the microscopic scale. This thesis focuses on a microscopic understanding of solar cell optoelectronic performance and its impact on cell optimization. We consider this in three solar cell platforms: thin-film crystalline silicon, amorphous/crystalline silicon heterojunctions, and thin-film cells with nanophotonic light trapping. The work described in this thesis represents a powerful design paradigm, based on a detailed physical understanding of the mechanisms governing solar cell performance. Furthermore, we demonstrate the importance of understanding not just the individual mechanisms, but also their interactions. Such an approach to device optimization is critical for the efficiency and competitiveness of future generations of solar cells.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Solar cells; photovoltaics; device physics; modeling; simulation; light trapping; thin film; silicon
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Atwater, Harry Albert
Thesis Committee:
  • Atwater, Harry Albert (chair)
  • Lewis, Nathan Saul
  • Painter, Oskar J.
  • Faraon, Andrei
Defense Date:11 February 2013
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:02152013-094838378
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription for ch. 2 : "Effects of bulk and grain boundary..." for ch. 3: "Scanning laser-beam-induced current..." DOIAdapted for ch. 3: "Effect of defect-rich epitaxy on crystalline..." for ch. 4: "Accounting for localized defects..." for ch. 4: "Solar Cell Efficiency Enhancement..." for ch. 4: "Simulations of solar cell absorption..." for ch. 4: "Design of nanostructured solar cells..."
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7480
Deposited By: Michael Deceglie
Deposited On:29 Jan 2014 18:07
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:12

Thesis Files

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