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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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Modeling of total ionizing dose effects in advanced complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor technologies

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The increased use of commercial complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies in harsh radiation environments has resulted in a new approach to radiation effects mitigation. This approach utilizes simulation to support the design of integrated circuits (ICs) to meet targeted tolerance specifications.

The increased use of commercial complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies in harsh radiation environments has resulted in a new approach to radiation effects mitigation. This approach utilizes simulation to support the design of integrated circuits (ICs) to meet targeted tolerance specifications. Modeling the deleterious impact of ionizing radiation on ICs fabricated in advanced CMOS technologies requires understanding and analyzing the basic mechanisms that result in buildup of radiation-induced defects in specific sensitive regions. Extensive experimental studies have demonstrated that the sensitive regions are shallow trench isolation (STI) oxides. Nevertheless, very little work has been done to model the physical mechanisms that result in the buildup of radiation-induced defects and the radiation response of devices fabricated in these technologies. A comprehensive study of the physical mechanisms contributing to the buildup of radiation-induced oxide trapped charges and the generation of interface traps in advanced CMOS devices is presented in this dissertation. The basic mechanisms contributing to the buildup of radiation-induced defects are explored using a physical model that utilizes kinetic equations that captures total ionizing dose (TID) and dose rate effects in silicon dioxide (SiO2). These mechanisms are formulated into analytical models that calculate oxide trapped charge density (Not) and interface trap density (Nit) in sensitive regions of deep-submicron devices. Experiments performed on field-oxide-field-effect-transistors (FOXFETs) and metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) capacitors permit investigating TID effects and provide a comparison for the radiation response of advanced CMOS devices. When used in conjunction with closed-form expressions for surface potential, the analytical models enable an accurate description of radiation-induced degradation of transistor electrical characteristics. In this dissertation, the incorporation of TID effects in advanced CMOS devices into surface potential based compact models is also presented. The incorporation of TID effects into surface potential based compact models is accomplished through modifications of the corresponding surface potential equations (SPE), allowing the inclusion of radiation-induced defects (i.e., Not and Nit) into the calculations of surface potential. Verification of the compact modeling approach is achieved via comparison with experimental data obtained from FOXFETs fabricated in a 90 nm low-standby power commercial bulk CMOS technology and numerical simulations of fully-depleted (FD) silicon-on-insulator (SOI) n-channel transistors.

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2011

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Predictive modeling for extremely scaled CMOS and post silicon devices

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To extend the lifetime of complementary metal-oxide-semiconductors (CMOS), emerging process techniques are being proposed to conquer the manufacturing difficulties. New structures and materials are proposed with superior electrical properties to traditional CMOS, such as strain technology and feedback field-effect transistor

To extend the lifetime of complementary metal-oxide-semiconductors (CMOS), emerging process techniques are being proposed to conquer the manufacturing difficulties. New structures and materials are proposed with superior electrical properties to traditional CMOS, such as strain technology and feedback field-effect transistor (FB-FET). To continue the design success and make an impact on leading products, advanced circuit design exploration must begin concurrently with early silicon development. Therefore, an accurate and scalable model is desired to correctly capture those effects and flexible to extend to alternative process choices. For example, strain technology has been successfully integrated into CMOS fabrication to improve transistor performance but the stress is non-uniformly distributed in the channel, leading to systematic performance variations. In this dissertation, a new layout-dependent stress model is proposed as a function of layout, temperature, and other device parameters. Furthermore, a method of layout decomposition is developed to partition the layout into a set of simple patterns for model extraction. These solutions significantly reduce the complexity in stress modeling and simulation. On the other hand, semiconductor devices with self-feedback mechanisms are emerging as promising alternatives to CMOS. Fe-FET was proposed to improve the switching by integrating a ferroelectric material as gate insulator in a MOSFET structure. Under particular circumstances, ferroelectric capacitance is effectively negative, due to the negative slope of its polarization-electrical field curve. This property makes the ferroelectric layer a voltage amplifier to boost surface potential, achieving fast transition. A new threshold voltage model for Fe-FET is developed, and is further revealed that the impact of random dopant fluctuation (RDF) can be suppressed. Furthermore, through silicon via (TSV), a key technology that enables the 3D integration of chips, is studied. TSV structure is usually a cylindrical metal-oxide-semiconductors (MOS) capacitor. A piecewise capacitance model is proposed for 3D interconnect simulation. Due to the mismatch in coefficients of thermal expansion (CTE) among materials, thermal stress is observed in TSV process and impacts neighboring devices. The stress impact is investigated to support the interaction between silicon process and IC design at the early stage.

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2011