Recombination process in solar cells: Impact on the carrier transport



Thickness of Si solar cells is being reduced below 200 µm to reduce costs and improve their performance. In conventional solar cells recombination of photo-generated charge carriers plays a major limiting role in the cell efficiency. High quality thin-film solar cells may overcome this limit if the minority diffusion lengths become large as compared to the cell dimensions, but, strikingly, the conventional model fails to describe the cell electric behaviour under these conditions. Moreover, it is shown that in the conventional model the reverse-saturation current diverges (tends to infinity) in thin solar cells. A new formulation of the basic equations describing charge carrier transport in the cell along with a set of boundary conditions is presented. An analytical closed-form solution is obtained under a linear approximation. In the new framework given, the calculation of the open-circuit voltage of the solar cell diode does not lead to unphysical results. (© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)