The objective of the project is to raise the understanding of dark current mechanisms in GaAs-related solar cells to a level comparable to that of silicon cells. Motivation for this work arises from the observation that much of the progress in crystalline silicon cell performance has occurred as a result of a very deep knowledge of the physics controlling the cell’s dark current. Based on this knowledge, new cell structures evolved to suppress dominant dark current mechanisms. A comparable level of knowledge of GaAs cell device physics does not yet exist, but will be essential if cell performance near the thermodynamic limit is to be achieved. Moreover, knowledge gained from studies of the AlGaAs/GaAs material system, should help identify the key problems to be addressed in other III-V materials.
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