This Next Generation Silicon Sub-Cells project will see UNSW work with partners at the Ohio State University to develop high efficiency III-V on silicon multi-junction solar cells suitable for commercial development.
Melding UNSWs leading silicon solar cell expertise with the latest developments in combining III-V materials with silicon a new generation of solar cells will be realised. At its conclusion this project will deliver key insights into the design and fabrication of high efficiency silicon sub-cells, as well as commercially viable processes for manufacturing silicon based high efficiency multi-junction solar cells in the short term and more novel designs in the longer term.
How the project works
Building on existing work between UNSW and OSU that is adapting conventional silicon solar cells to optimum performance in a multi-junction device, novel high performance thin silicon approaches will also be developed to enable the realisation of the next generation of these high performance devices. An ongoing project adapting UNSW ground breaking PERL structures with III-V compound upper cells will continue with the use of lower cost processing methods, with a novel method for silicon contacting being a highlight. In conjunction with these efforts novel thin silicon based devices, responsible for the recent records seen in silicon based solar cells, will be incorporated with III-V compounds, to enable the development of thin high performance multi-junction solar cells. By this approach short and medium technological developments will be delivered, ensuring UNSW and Australia remain at the very forefront of solar cell development.
Area of innovation
This Next Generation Silicon Sub-Cells project will combine the very latest knowledge and expertise to develop multi-junction solar cells that will be applicable for a growing range of applications. The combination of record breaking technologies for both multi-junction and single junction solar cells, as well as the adaption of novel silicon processing techniques will deliver device architectures never seen before. They offer a new pathway for the development of high performance photovoltaic devices and open up new possible application spaces.
The remarkable advances in silicon solar performance mean that further significant improvements will become increasingly difficult. The combination of a proven high performance material for solar cells, namely III-V compounds, with the industrially dominant silicon will provide the next generation of high performance solar cells. The adaption of silicon sub-cells to incorporate the latest silicon technology, including thin device architectures, and novel silicon processing techniques, will improve material usage and bring down production costs, whilst maintaining high performance, essential for commercialising this technology.