Realistic Detailed Balance Study of the Quantum Efficiency of Quantum Dot Solar Cells



An attractive but challenging technology for high efficiency solar energy conversion is the intermediate band solar cell (IBSC), whose theoretical efficiency limit is 63%, yet which has so far failed to yield high efficiencies in practice. The most advanced IBSC technology is that based on quantum dots (QDs): the QD-IBSC. In this paper, k·p calculations of photon absorption in the QDs are combined with a multi-level detailed balance model. The model has been used to reproduce the measured quantum efficiency of a real QD-IBSC and its temperature dependence. This allows the analysis of individual sub-bandgap transition currents, which has as yet not been possible experimentally, yielding a deeper understanding of the failure of current QD-IBSCs. Based on the agreement with experimental data, the model is believed to be realistic enough to evaluate future QD-IBSC proposals.