(ANR -15-CE05-0009-05)

Start: November 2015
Duration: 42 months

Presentation of the project:

In the past 10 years, the PV industry has drastically reduced the fabrication cost of modules which now tends to stabilize. The module represents in 2013 only 22% of the final cost of a rooftop installation. It means that further cost reduction for PV installation mainly relies on better module efficiency.

HETONAN propose to develop a tandem solar cell structure able to convert solar spectra very efficiently by combining a planar Si bottom cell with a III-V cell based on nanowires (NWs) on top of it. The planar Si solar cell will be used as a substrate for the growth of p-n junction core-shell III-V NWs of higher bandgap than Si. The two subcells will be connected in series by a low-resistance tunnel junction elaborated in the planar Si structure. Two different types of III-V semiconductor NWs with the optimal bandgap value (1.7 eV), GaAs0.7P0.3 and Ga0.73Al0.27As, will be grown by MBE using self-catalyzed VLS method.

This HETONAN project involves some of the French key player of academic research in photovoltaics (INL, coordinator, IEF/PASud, LPN, IMEP) and one industrial partner (SILSEF). In previous studies, they have already demonstrated a number of key building blocks necessary for the tandem cell implementation. The objective is now to investigate the practical feasibility to realise demonstrators and to determine the potential of this technology. To reach this ambitious objective, partners of the project will have to overcome the following bottlenecks:

  • Growth of defect-free vertical NWs on nanostructured Si substrate
  • Surface passivation of NWs
  • Doping control of core shell NWs
  • Optical and electrical coupling between top and bottom cells using tunnel junction, current matching and prevention of shunts and shortcuts between NWs by an adequate implementation technology.
  • In detail, we will work towards the 4 following objectives :

  • Demonstrating strong absorption of photons with energy > 1.7 eV with only about 15% of the surface area covered with NWs.
  • Forming a single junction NWs solar cell on silicon substrate: This objective is based on an innovative concept which is far to be optimized today.
  • Demonstrating the series connection of the top and bottom subcells with minimum optical and electrical losses with the Si tunnel junction.
  • The final objective is to demonstate a solar cell with 30% more efficiency than the sole Si bottom cell.
  • Scheme of targeted tandem solar cell.



    Usefull Links

    Institut des Nanotechnologies de Lyon

    Laboratoire de Photonique et de Nanostructures

    Institut d'Electronique Fondamentale

    Laboratoire de Microelectronique Electromagnetisme, Hyperfrequence, Photonique et de Caractérisation.

    Structured and Functionalized Materials