From process to circuits: New perspectives to solar cell design
As the demand for cheap and clean energy sources increased over the last two decades, solar cells have proven to be strong candidates against the fossil fuels. From an economic perspective, in order to replace fossil fuels, it is required to reduce the cost of solar cells. This can be achieved by depositing thinner absorber layers under low process temperatures, yet these efforts lead to poorer efficiency values. Addressing such trade-offs and providing solutions to this problem have been the main objectives of this study.^ In this research, we have approached the aforementioned problem from two distinct approaches. The first one is to look at the correlation between the fabrication conditions and the performance of the cell, while the second one is to investigate the interaction between the solar cell and the power conditioning circuitry. Following our first approach, we started from the deposition conditions of thin films and addressed their effects on the efficiency of the solar cells made out of these films. Using numerical simulations, we were able to identify the effect of various changes in the copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) and CdTe solar cells due to deposition conditions. Within the context of our second approach, we demonstrated that the performance of a polycrystalline Si based energy scavenging system can be improved, provided that the optimization for the solar cell and the power conditioning circuitry is done simultaneously. Finally, these approaches were combined to study the effects of process conditions on the device, circuit and system levels.^
Kaushik Roy, Purdue University, Muhammad A. Alam, Purdue University.
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