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Monocrystalline ZnTe/CdTe/MgCdTe double heterostructure solar cells grown on InSb substrates by molecular beam epitaxy

Description

There has been recent interest in demonstrating solar cells which approach the detailed-balance or thermodynamic efficiency limit in order to establish a model system for which mass-produced solar cells can be designed. Polycrystalline CdS/CdTe heterostructures are currently one of many

There has been recent interest in demonstrating solar cells which approach the detailed-balance or thermodynamic efficiency limit in order to establish a model system for which mass-produced solar cells can be designed. Polycrystalline CdS/CdTe heterostructures are currently one of many competing solar cell material systems. Despite being polycrystalline, efficiencies up to 21 % have been demonstrated by the company First Solar. However, this efficiency is still far from the detailed-balance limit of 32.1 % for CdTe. This work explores the use of monocrystalline CdTe/MgCdTe and ZnTe/CdTe/MgCdTe double heterostructures (DHs) grown on (001) InSb substrates by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) for photovoltaic applications.

Undoped CdTe/MgCdTe DHs are first grown in order to determine the material quality of the CdTe epilayer and to optimize the growth conditions. DH samples show strong photoluminescence with over double the intensity as that of a GaAs/AlGaAs DH with an identical layer structure. Time-resolved photoluminescence of the CdTe/MgCdTe DH gives a carrier lifetime of up to 179 ns for a 2 µm thick CdTe layer, which is more than one order of magnitude longer than that of polycrystalline CdTe films. MgCdTe barrier layers are found to be effective at confining photogenerated carriers and have a relatively low interface recombination velocity of 461 cm/s. The optimal growth temperature and Cd/Te flux ratio is determined to be 265 °C and 1.5, respectively.

Monocrystalline ZnTe/CdTe/MgCdTe P-n-N DH solar cells are designed, grown, processed into solar cell devices, and characterized. A maximum efficiency of 6.11 % is demonstrated for samples without an anti-reflection coating. The low efficiency is mainly due to the low open-circuit voltage (Voc), which is attributed to high dark current caused by interface recombination at the ZnTe/CdTe interface. Low-temperature measurements show a linear increase in Voc with decreasing temperature down to 77 K, which suggests that the room-temperature operation is limited by non-radiative recombination. An open-circuit voltage of 1.22 V and an efficiency of 8.46 % is demonstrated at 77 K. It is expected that a coherently strained MgCdTe/CdTe/MgCdTe DH solar cell design will produce higher efficiency and Voc compared to the ZnTe/CdTe/MgCdTe design with relaxed ZnTe layer.

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2014

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Novel materials, grid design rule, and characterization methods for multi-junction solar cells

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This dissertation addresses challenges pertaining to multi-junction (MJ) solar cells from material development to device design and characterization. Firstly, among the various methods to improve the energy conversion efficiency of MJ solar cells using, a novel approach proposed recently is

This dissertation addresses challenges pertaining to multi-junction (MJ) solar cells from material development to device design and characterization. Firstly, among the various methods to improve the energy conversion efficiency of MJ solar cells using, a novel approach proposed recently is to use II-VI (MgZnCd)(SeTe) and III-V (AlGaIn)(AsSb) semiconductors lattice-matched on GaSb or InAs substrates for current-matched subcells with minimal defect densities. CdSe/CdTe superlattices are proposed as a potential candidate for a subcell in the MJ solar cell designs using this material system, and therefore the material properties of the superlattices are studied. The high structural qualities of the superlattices are obtained from high resolution X-ray diffraction measurements and cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy images. The effective bandgap energies of the superlattices obtained from the photoluminescence (PL) measurements vary with the layer thicknesses, and are smaller than the bandgap energies of either the constituent material. Furthermore, The PL peak position measured at the steady state exhibits a blue shift that increases with the excess carrier concentration. These results confirm a strong type-II band edge alignment between CdSe and CdTe. The valence band offset between unstrained CdSe and CdTe is determined as 0.63 eV±0.06 eV by fitting the measured PL peak positions using the Kronig-Penney model. The blue shift in PL peak position is found to be primarily caused by the band bending effect based on self-consistent solutions of the Schrödinger and Poisson equations. Secondly, the design of the contact grid layout is studied to maximize the power output and energy conversion efficiency for concentrator solar cells. Because the conventional minimum power loss method used for the contact design is not accurate in determining the series resistance loss, a method of using a distributed series resistance model to maximize the power output is proposed for the contact design. It is found that the junction recombination loss in addition to the series resistance loss and shadowing loss can significantly affect the contact layout. The optimal finger spacing and maximum efficiency calculated by the two methods are close, and the differences are dependent on the series resistance and saturation currents of solar cells. Lastly, the accurate measurements of external quantum efficiency (EQE) are important for the design and development of MJ solar cells. However, the electrical and optical couplings between the subcells have caused EQE measurement artifacts. In order to interpret the measurement artifacts, DC and small signal models are built for the bias condition and the scan of chopped monochromatic light in the EQE measurements. Characterization methods are developed for the device parameters used in the models. The EQE measurement artifacts are found to be caused by the shunt and luminescence coupling effects, and can be minimized using proper voltage and light biases. Novel measurement methods using a pulse voltage bias or a pulse light bias are invented to eliminate the EQE measurement artifacts. These measurement methods are nondestructive and easy to implement. The pulse voltage bias or pulse light bias is superimposed on the conventional DC voltage and light biases, in order to control the operating points of the subcells and counterbalance the effects of shunt and luminescence coupling. The methods are demonstrated for the first time to effectively eliminate the measurement artifacts.

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2012

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Generalized Monte Carlo tool for investigating low-field and high field properties of materials using non-parabolic band structure model

Description

In semiconductor physics, many properties or phenomena of materials can be brought to light through certain changes in the materials. Having a tool to define new material properties so as to highlight certain phenomena greatly increases the ability to understand

In semiconductor physics, many properties or phenomena of materials can be brought to light through certain changes in the materials. Having a tool to define new material properties so as to highlight certain phenomena greatly increases the ability to understand that phenomena. The generalized Monte Carlo tool allows the user to do that by keeping every parameter used to define a material, within the non-parabolic band approximation, a variable in the control of the user. A material is defined by defining its valleys, energies, valley effective masses and their directions. The types of scattering to be included can also be chosen. The non-parabolic band structure model is used. With the deployment of the generalized Monte Carlo tool onto www.nanoHUB.org the tool will be available to users around the world. This makes it a very useful educational tool that can be incorporated into curriculums. The tool is integrated with Rappture, to allow user-friendly access of the tool. The user can freely define a material in an easy systematic way without having to worry about the coding involved. The output results are automatically graphed and since the code incorporates an analytic band structure model, it is relatively fast. The versatility of the tool has been investigated and has produced results closely matching the experimental values for some common materials. The tool has been uploaded onto www.nanoHUB.org by integrating it with the Rappture interface. By using Rappture as the user interface, one can easily make changes to the current parameter sets to obtain even more accurate results.

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2011

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Quantum efficiency measurement of nanowires using integrating sphere

Description

This thesis mainly focuses on the study of quantum efficiency (QE) and its measurement, especially for nanowires (NWs). First, a brief introduction of nano-technology and nanowire is given to describe my initial research interest. Next various fundamental kinds of recombination

This thesis mainly focuses on the study of quantum efficiency (QE) and its measurement, especially for nanowires (NWs). First, a brief introduction of nano-technology and nanowire is given to describe my initial research interest. Next various fundamental kinds of recombination mechanisms are described; both for radiative and non-radiative processes. This is an introduction for defining the internal quantum efficiency (IQE). A relative IQE measurement method is shown following that. Then it comes to the major part of the thesis discussing a procedure of quantum efficiency measurement using photoluminescence (PL) method and an integrating sphere, which has not been much applied to nanowires (NWs). In fact this is a convenient and useful approach for evaluating the quality of NWs since it considers not only the PL emission but also the absorption of NWs. The process is well illustrated and performed with both wavelength-dependent and power-dependent measurements. The measured PLQE is in the range of 0.3% ~ 5.4%. During the measurement, a phenomenon called photodegradation is observed and examined by a set of power-dependence measurements. This effect can be a factor for underestimating the PLQE and a procedure is introduced during the sample preparation process which managed to reduce this effect for some degree.

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2012

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Conversion of a molecular beam epitaxy system for the growth of 6.1 angstrom semiconductors

Description

A dual chamber molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system was rebuilt for the growth of 6.1 Angstrom II-VI and III-V compound semiconductor materials that are to be used in novel optoelectronic devices that take advantage of the nearly continuous bandgap availability

A dual chamber molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system was rebuilt for the growth of 6.1 Angstrom II-VI and III-V compound semiconductor materials that are to be used in novel optoelectronic devices that take advantage of the nearly continuous bandgap availability between 0 eV and 3.4 eV. These devices include multijunction solar cells and multicolor detectors. The MBE system upgrade involved the conversion of a former III-V chamber for II-VI growth. This required intensive cleaning of the chamber and components to prevent contamination. Special features including valved II-VI sources and the addition of a cold trap allowed for the full system to be baked to 200 degrees Celsius to improve vacuum conditions and reduce background impurity concentrations in epilayers. After the conversion, the system was carefully calibrated and optimized for the growth of ZnSe and ZnTe on GaAs (001) substrates. Material quality was assessed using X-ray diffraction rocking curves. ZnSe layers displayed a trend of improving quality with decreasing growth temperature reaching a minimum full-width half-maximum (FWHM) of 113 arcsec at 278 degrees Celsius. ZnTe epilayer quality increased with growth temperature under Zn rich conditions attaining a FWHM of 84 arcsec at 440 degrees Celsius. RHEED oscillations were successfully observed and used to obtain growth rate in situ for varying flux and temperature levels. For a fixed flux ratio, growth rate decreased with growth temperature as the desorption rate increased. A directly proportional dependence of growth rate on Te flux was observed for Zn rich growth. Furthermore, a method for determining the flux ratio necessary for attaining the stoichiometric condition was demonstrated.

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2012

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Algebraic multigrid poisson equation solver

Description

From 2D planar MOSFET to 3D FinFET, the geometry of semiconductor devices is getting more and more complex. Correspondingly, the number of mesh grid points increases largely to maintain the accuracy of carrier transport and heat transfer simulations. By substituting

From 2D planar MOSFET to 3D FinFET, the geometry of semiconductor devices is getting more and more complex. Correspondingly, the number of mesh grid points increases largely to maintain the accuracy of carrier transport and heat transfer simulations. By substituting the conventional uniform mesh with non-uniform mesh, one can reduce the number of grid points. However, the problem of how to solve governing equations on non-uniform mesh is then imposed to the numerical solver. Moreover, if a device simulator is integrated into a multi-scale simulator, the problem size will be further increased. Consequently, there exist two challenges for the current numerical solver. One is to increase the functionality to accommodate non-uniform mesh. The other is to solve governing physical equations fast and accurately on a large number of mesh grid points.

This research rst discusses a 2D planar MOSFET simulator and its numerical solver, pointing out its performance limit. By analyzing the algorithm complexity, Multigrid method is proposed to replace conventional Successive-Over-Relaxation method in a numerical solver. A variety of Multigrid methods (standard Multigrid, Algebraic Multigrid, Full Approximation Scheme, and Full Multigrid) are discussed and implemented. Their properties are examined through a set of numerical experiments. Finally, Algebraic Multigrid, Full Approximation Scheme and Full Multigrid are integrated into one advanced numerical solver based on the exact requirements of a semiconductor device simulator. A 2D MOSFET device is used to benchmark the performance, showing that the advanced Multigrid method has higher speed, accuracy and robustness.

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2015

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Optimization of monocrystalline MgxCd1-xTe/MgyCd1-yTe double-heterostructure solar cells

Description

Polycrystalline CdS/CdTe solar cells continue to dominate the thin-film photovoltaics industry with an achieved record efficiency of over 22% demonstrated by First Solar, yet monocrystalline CdTe devices have received considerably less attention over the years. Monocrystalline CdTe double-heterostructure solar cells

Polycrystalline CdS/CdTe solar cells continue to dominate the thin-film photovoltaics industry with an achieved record efficiency of over 22% demonstrated by First Solar, yet monocrystalline CdTe devices have received considerably less attention over the years. Monocrystalline CdTe double-heterostructure solar cells show great promise with respect to addressing the problem of low Voc with the passing of the 1 V benchmark. Rapid progress has been made in driving the efficiency in these devices ever closer to the record presently held by polycrystalline thin-films. This achievement is primarily due to the utilization of a remote p-n heterojunction in which the heavily doped contact materials, which are so problematic in terms of increasing non-radiative recombination inside the absorber, are moved outside of the CdTe double heterostructure with two MgyCd1-yTe barrier layers to provide confinement and passivation at the CdTe surfaces. Using this design, the pursuit and demonstration of efficiencies beyond 20% in CdTe solar cells is reported through the study and optimization of the structure barriers, contacts layers, and optical design. Further development of a wider bandgap MgxCd1-xTe solar cell based on the same design is included with the intention of applying this knowledge to the development of a tandem solar cell constructed on a silicon subcell. The exploration of different hole-contact materials—ZnTe, CuZnS, and a-Si:H—and their optimization is presented throughout the work. Devices utilizing a-Si:H hole contacts exhibit open-circuit voltages of up to 1.11 V, a maximum total-area efficiency of 18.5% measured under AM1.5G, and an active-area efficiency of 20.3% for CdTe absorber based devices. The achievement of voltages beyond 1.1V while still maintaining relatively high fill factors with no rollover, either before or after open-circuit, is a promising indicator that this approach can result in devices surpassing the 22% record set by polycrystalline designs. MgxCd1-xTe absorber based devices have been demonstrated with open-circuit voltages of up to 1.176 V and a maximum active-area efficiency of 11.2%. A discussion of the various loss mechanisms present within these devices, both optical and electrical, concludes with the presentation of a series of potential design changes meant to address these issues.

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2017

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The Role of the Collisional Broadening of the States on the Low-Field Mobility in Silicon Inversion Layers

Description

Scaling of the Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) towards shorter channel lengths, has lead to an increasing importance of quantum effects on the device performance. Until now, a semi-classical model based on Monte Carlo method for instance, has been sufficient

Scaling of the Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) towards shorter channel lengths, has lead to an increasing importance of quantum effects on the device performance. Until now, a semi-classical model based on Monte Carlo method for instance, has been sufficient to address these issues in silicon, and arrive at a reasonably good fit to experimental mobility data. But as the semiconductor world moves towards 10nm technology, many of the basic assumptions in this method, namely the very fundamental Fermi’s golden rule come into question. The derivation of the Fermi’s golden rule assumes that the scattering is infrequent (therefore the long time limit) and the collision duration time is zero. This thesis overcomes some of the limitations of the above approach by successfully developing a quantum mechanical simulator that can model the low-field inversion layer mobility in silicon MOS capacitors and other inversion layers as well. It solves for the scattering induced collisional broadening of the states by accounting for the various scattering mechanisms present in silicon through the non-equilibrium based near-equilibrium Green’s Functions approach, which shall be referred to as near-equilibrium Green’s Function (nEGF) in this work. It adopts a two-loop approach, where the outer loop solves for the self-consistency between the potential and the subband sheet charge density by solving the Poisson and the Schrödinger equations self-consistently. The inner loop solves for the nEGF (renormalization of the spectrum and the broadening of the states), self-consistently using the self-consistent Born approximation, which is then used to compute the mobility using the Green-Kubo Formalism.

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2017

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MBE Growth and Characterization of III-V Bismide Semiconductor Alloys for Mid- and Long-Wave Infrared Applications

Description

The molecular beam epitaxy growth of the III-V semiconductor alloy indium arsenide antimonide bismide (InAsSbBi) is investigated over a range of growth temperatures and V/III flux ratios. Bulk and quantum well structures grown on gallium antimonide (GaSb) substrates are examined.

The molecular beam epitaxy growth of the III-V semiconductor alloy indium arsenide antimonide bismide (InAsSbBi) is investigated over a range of growth temperatures and V/III flux ratios. Bulk and quantum well structures grown on gallium antimonide (GaSb) substrates are examined. The relationships between Bi incorporation, surface morphology, growth temperature, and group-V flux are explored. A growth model is developed based on the kinetics of atomic desorption, incorporation, surface accumulation, and droplet formation. The model is applied to InAsSbBi, where the various process are fit to the Bi, Sb, and As mole fractions. The model predicts a Bi incorporation limit for lattice matched InAsSbBi grown on GaSb.The optical performance and bandgap energy of InAsSbBi is examined using photoluminescence spectroscopy. Emission is observed from low to room temperature with peaks ranging from 3.7 to 4.6 μm. The bandgap as function of temperature is determined from the first derivative maxima of the spectra fit to an Einstein single oscillator model. The photoluminescence spectra is observed to significantly broaden with Bi content as a result of lateral composition variations and the highly mismatched nature of Bi atoms, pairs, and clusters in the group-V sublattice.
A bowing model is developed for the bandgap and band offsets of the quinary alloy GaInAsSbBi and its quaternary constituents InAsSbBi and GaAsSbBi. The band anticrossing interaction due to the highly mismatched Bi atoms is incorporated into the relevant bowing terms. An algorithm is developed for the design of mid infrared GaInAsSbBi
quantum wells, with three degrees freedom to independently tune transition energy, in plane strain, and band edge offsets for desired electron and hole confinement.
The physical characteristics of the fundamental absorption edge of the relevant III-V binaries GaAs, GaSb, InAs, and InSb are examined using spectroscopic ellipsometry. A five parameter model is developed that describes the key physical characteristics of the absorption edge, including the bandgap energy, the Urbach tail, and the absorption coefficient at the bandgap.
The quantum efficiency and recombination lifetimes of bulk InAs0.911Sb0.089 grown by molecular beam epitaxy is investigated using excitation and temperature dependent steady state photoluminescence. The Shockley-Read-Hall, radiative, and Auger recombination lifetimes are determined.

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2020

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Investigation and Analysis of Thermal Performance of InGaN/GaN Light Emitting Diodes

Description

Light Emitting Diodes even with their longer life, robust build and low power consumption, they are still plagued by some problems the most significant of which are the current droop and thermal droop. Current droop causes a lowering in the

Light Emitting Diodes even with their longer life, robust build and low power consumption, they are still plagued by some problems the most significant of which are the current droop and thermal droop. Current droop causes a lowering in the Internal Quantum Efficiency with increased current injection while thermal droop lowers the whole Internal Quantum Efficiency curve with increase in temperature. The focus here was understanding effects of thermal droop and develop a method to control it.

Shockley Read Hall recombination plays a dominant role in the thermal droop effect when the current injection is low. Since the blue light emitting diode is based on Gallium Nitride, we need to take into consideration the effect of piezoelectric polarization in the quantum wells. The effects of the piezoelectric fields were studied based on the Gallium Nitride plane orientations. It was found in a Gallium Nitride light emitting diodes simulation study that more the number of quantum wells, lower would be the Radiative recombination rate. The problem of exacerbated spatial separation of electron hole wavefunctions in a thick single quantum well structure lead to the development of a dual well structure where one well assisted the other during high temperature operations. The Electron Blocking Layer was reduced in thickness and was made only 10 nm thick with a 5 nm Gallium Nitride buffer between it and the active region wells. The main reason for reducing the electron blocking layer thickness was to reduce the valance band offset and improve hole transport into the active region. Three different dual well designs were simulated of 3nm, 6nm and 9nm wide wells. The output parameters like the Power Spectral Density, Electron bound density, Light Output Power and Electron-Hole wavefunction overlaps were calculated. It was found that one of the wells acted as an assisting well where it had very little radiative recombination activity in it at room temperature.

As the temperature increased, it was observed that the electrons in the main well started to overflow out of it and into the assisting well where the radiative recombination rate increased significantly. This lead to a boost in Internal Quantum Efficiency.

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2017