Direct imaging of minority charge carrier transport in triple junction solar cell layers
Mills, Ted Jonathan
Haegel, Nancy M.
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An optical, contact-free method for measuring minority carrier diffusion lengths is developed and demonstrated for a range of semiconductor materials used in high efficiency triple junction solar cells. This method uses a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) coupled with an optical microscope. The diffusion lengths, combined with minority carrier lifetime measured via time-resolved photoluminescence, allow for the computation of minority charge carrier mobility. The technique uses images to extract diffusion length measurements from GaAs, InGaAs, and InGaP heterostructures at different SEM beam energies and probe currents. Excellent correlation between measurements shows the reproducibility of this technique. Diffusion lengths from 2-63 microns have been measured in a variety of GaAs, InGaAs, and InGaP samples. Effects of alloy ordering, doping, and lattice matching have been investigated. Several areas for further research are offered, including detailed radiationdamage mapping of solar cell layers. Further anisotropic studies of the solar cell layers are suggested to investigate the directional dependence of diffusion length within the InGaP heterostructures. Finally, new and emerging solar cell materials would benefit from this technique, allowing for the complete characterization of minority charge transport properties before growing an entire solar cell.
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