Silicon dominates the photovoltaic industry but the conversion efficiency of silicon single-junction solar cells is intrinsically constrained to 29.4%, and practically limited to around 27%. It is possible to overcome this limit by combining silicon with high-bandgap materials, such as III–V semiconductors, in a multi-junction device. Significant challenges associated with this material combination have hindered the development of highly efficient III–V/Si solar cells. Here, we demonstrate a III–V/Si cell reaching similar performances to standard III–V/Ge triple-junction solar cells. This device is fabricated using wafer bonding to permanently join a GaInP/GaAs top cell with a silicon bottom cell. The key issues of III–V/Si interface recombination and silicon's weak absorption are addressed using poly-silicon/SiOx passivating contacts and a novel rear-side diffraction grating for the silicon bottom cell. With these combined features, we demonstrate a two-terminal GaInP/GaAs//Si solar cell reaching a 1-sun AM1.5G conversion efficiency of 33.3%.
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The authors thank the Fraunhofer ISE employees E. Oliva, A. Schütte, R. Koch, M. Graf, E. Schäffer, M. Schachtner, E. Fehrenbacher, A. Wekkeli, K. Wagner, S. Stättner, R. Freitas, A. Lösel, A. Leimenstoll, F. Schätzle and V. Klinger for helping with device processing and characterization. We also thank T. Höche and C. Patzig from Fraunhofer IMWS for the TEM studies. We further acknowledge financial support through the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie HISTORIC grant agreement no. 655272 and the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy through the project PoTaSi (no. 0324247). The development of the Si bottom cell received funding through the EU project NanoTandem under grant agreement no. 641023. This article reflects only the authors' view and the funding agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
The authors N. Razek and M. Wimplinger are employed by EV Group E. Thallner GmbH, 4782 St Florian am Inn, Austria, which produces the wafer bonding machine used in this study.
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Cariou, R., Benick, J., Feldmann, F. et al. III–V-on-silicon solar cells reaching 33% photoconversion efficiency in two-terminal configuration. Nat Energy 3, 326–333 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-018-0125-0
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