Modeling laser effects on multi-junction solar cells using Silvaco ATLAS software for spacecraft power beaming applications
VanDyke, Jamie E.
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This thesis explores the possibility of power beaming from terrestrial sites to orbiting spacecraft. Solar cell annealing to repair radiation damaged cells and power augmentation for satellites that are battery limited are two of the possible uses for power beaming. Through modeling and simulation a more complete understanding of the expected system response was obtained. A virtual wafer fabrication tool (VWFT) called Silvaco ATLAS was used to simulate a previously optimized InGaP/GaAs/Ge triple junction solar cell's response to a three laser system. The software was used to determine the optimum wavelength for each layer of the cell and then the intensity of the lasers was determined to achieve the same output of the cell as experienced under solar illumination, thereby replacing the sun. The original cell boasted 36.29% efficiency under solar illumination, but by applying the laser system the same cell operated at 51.15% efficiency. The approach and lessons learned can be applied to any solar cell design.