The development of high efficiency III-V solar cells is needed to meet the demands of a promising renewable energy source. Intermediate band solar cells (IBSCs) using semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have been proposed to exceed the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit . The introduction of an IB in the forbidden gap of host material generates two additional carrier transitions for sub-bandgap photon absorption, leading to increased photocurrent of IBSCs while simultaneously allowing an open-circuit voltage of the highest band gap. To realize a high efficiency IBSC, QD structures should have high crystal quality and optimized electronic properties. This dissertation focuses on the investigation and optimization of the structural and optical properties of InAs/GaAsSb QDs and the development of InAs/GaAsSb QD-based IBSCs.
In the present dissertation, the interband optical transition and carrier lifetime of InAs/GaAsSb QDs with different silicon delta-doping densities have been first studied by time-integrated and time-resolved photoluminescence (PL). It is found that an optimized silicon delta-doping density in the QDs enables to fill the QD electronic states with electrons for sub-bandgap photon absorption and to improve carrier lifetime of the QDs.
After that, the crystal quality and QD morphology of single- and multi-stack InAs/GaAsSb QDs with different Sb compositions have been investigated by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and x-ray diffraction (XRD). The TEM studies reveal that QD morphology of single-stack QDs is affected by Sb composition due to strain reducing effect of Sb incorporation. The XRD studies confirm that the increase of Sb composition increases the lattice mismatch between GaAs matrix and GaAsSb spacers, resulting in increase of the strain relaxation in GaAsSb of the multi-stack QDs. Furthermore, the increase of Sb composition causes a PL redshift and increases carrier lifetime of QDs.
Finally, the spacer layer thickness of multi-stack InAs/GaAsSb QDs is optimized for the growth of InAs/GaAsSb QD solar cells (QDSCs). The InAs/GaAsSb QDSCs with GaP strain compensating layer are grown and their device performances are characterized. The increase of GaP coverage is beneficial to improve the conversion efficiency of the QDSCs. However, the conversion efficiency is reduced when using a relatively large GaP coverage.