A thermophotovoltaic device and a method for making the thermophotovoltaic device. The device includes an n-type semiconductor material substrate having top and bottom surfaces, a tunnel junction formed on the top surface of the substrate, a region of active layers formed on top of the tunnel junction and a back surface reflector (BSR). The tunnel junction includes a layer of heavily doped n-type semiconductor material that is formed on the top surface of the substrate and a layer of heavily doped p-type semiconductor material formed on the n-type layer. An optional pseudomorphic layer can be formed between the n-type and p-type layers. A region of active layers is formed on top of the tunnel junction. This region includes a base layer of p-type semiconductor material and an emitter layer of n-type semiconductor material. An optional front surface window layer can be formed on top of the emitter layer. An optional interference filter can be formed on top of the emitter layer or the front surface window layer when it is used.