PP2.4 Third Generation Approaches

Project Coordinator: 
Chief Investigators: 
Gavin Conibeer

Third generation photovoltaics describes the development of materials that can be used to engineer performance by manipulating the bandgap, phonon response or light-trapping properties of the absorber materials.  

  • Hot carrier cells aim to capture the energy of above band gap photons in a device such as to either extract their energy at high voltage and high current or to optically boost the efficiency of a standard silicon cell in a down-converter configuration.
  • Silicon based nanostructures are used to modify the band gap of a photovoltaic device for use as a top cell element in a thin film silicon tandem device or as the top cell on a c-Si solar cell.

These approaches of Si nanostructure tandems and hot carrier cells offer alternative ways to boost the efficiency of silicon cells or provide high efficiency cells in their own right.  Both circumvent the Schockley-Queisser limit and so offer routes to devices in the high 20s% or well over 30%.