Solar cell device simulations from ab initio data and the implementation of efficiency enhancing techniques

Mokgosi, Itumeleng Siphiwe
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With the global energy consumption at an all-time high and the demand for energy estimated to triple by 2050, renewable energy sources such as solar are pivotal in an addressing this global energy demand. Solar power generation by photovoltaic cells enjoys several advantages compared to other forms of electricity generation such as a reduced fossil fuel dependence, modularity, easy and flexible installation, and scalability. The development of novel solar cells that offer increased efficiencies is an integral component of the process of addressing the global energy needs. Solar cell device simulations offer a cost-effective means to explore the impact of different material properties on the overall efficiency of the solar cell. The use of ab initio calculated material properties that serve as an import for the device simulations offers a means to easily study and estimate the typical solar cell efficiencies of different types of solar cells. The implementation of new light harnessing features, like frequency conversion layers or plasmonic nanoparticles, and the integration of these futures into existing device simulation codes serves as a useful tool that aids solar cell development. This work explores the theoretical and numerical background for the simulation of solar cell devices. A brief explanation of how ab initio calculated parameters can be used, together with the implementation of frequency conversion techniques in existing simulation codes is given. It is shown that the solar cell performance parameters can be well approximated using ab intio parameters. Also, the positive effect of frequency conversion techniques is demonstrated with examples of how this tool can be implemented in existing solar cell device simulation codes. The approaches discussed in this work can serve as a good framework for the modeling of novel solar cell devices
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment to the degree of Master of Science in the School of Physics, University of the Witwatersrand, 2018
Mokgosi, Itumeleng Siphiwe (2018) Solar cell device simulations from ab initio data and the implementation of efficiency enhancing techniques, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg,