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High Efficiency Multiple-Junction Solar Cells

Sandia National Laboratories

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PDF Document PublicationMarket Sheet  (937 KB)

Technology Marketing SummarySingle junction solar cells have limited efficiency and fail to extract maximum energy from photons outside of a specific spectral region. Higher efficiency and optical to electrical energy conversion is achieved by stacking semiconductor p-n junction layers to capture energy from all spectral regions. DescriptionThis Sandia invention proposes growing layers of different semiconductor alloys on a semiconductor substrate to minimize band-gap energy loss providing a high efficiency multiple junction solar cell array.Benefits
  • Reduces a satellite mass and cell array size
  • Reduces launch and maintenance costs
  • Increases satellite mission lifetime
  • High efficiency of light to energy conversion
  • Eliminates restrictions of electrical current flow
  • Captures energy in each spectral region
Applications and Industries
  • Satellite Space Power Systems
  • Military Commerical Solar Cells
  • Concentrated Solar Power
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 5,944,913
High-efficiency solar cell and method for fabrication
A high-efficiency 3- or 4-junction solar cell is disclosed with a theoretical AM0 energy conversion efficiency of about 40%. The solar cell includes p-n junctions formed from indium gallium arsenide nitride (InGaAsN), gallium arsenide (GaAs) and indium gallium aluminum phosphide (InGaAlP) separated by n-p tunnel junctions. An optional germanium (Ge) p-n junction can be formed in the substrate upon which the other p-n junctions are grown. The bandgap energies for each p-n junction are tailored to provide substantially equal short-circuit currents for each p-n junction, thereby eliminating current bottlenecks and improving the overall energy conversion efficiency of the solar cell. Additionally, the use of an InGaAsN p-n junction overcomes super-bandgap energy losses that are present in conventional multi-junction solar cells. A method is also disclosed for fabricating the high-efficiency 3- or 4-junction solar cell by metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD).
Sandia National Laboratories 08/31/1999
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
US Patent# 5,944,913Proposed - Sandia estimates this technology at approximately a TRL3. Critical functions and concepts have been proven in a laboratory setting. Available - Various license and partnering options are available. Please contact the Intellectual Property department to discuss. 09/28/201103/19/2013

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