Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

8-2019

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Program

Electrical Engineering, MS

Committee Chair

Naber, John F.

Committee Member

Mendes, Sergio B.

Committee Member

McNamara, Shamus

Author's Keywords

solar cells; parallel; multi-junction; semiconductor; photovoltaic

Abstract

This paper looks into the current inefficiency of solar cells and attempts a few alternative solar cell structures in order to provide a more effective source of renewable energy. Currently, multi-junction solar cells are being developed to capture the sun’s light more efficiently. One of the ideas in this paper is to add a window to see if the addition of such a layer into a junction will increase the voltage while maintaining nearly the same current output. Central to this paper is the rearranging of the conducting layers of the multi-junction cell so that the junctions can be connected in parallel rather than in series, summing current rather than voltage. We tested if this alternative arrangement produces enough current to over-compensate for the loss in voltage. Also, a hybrid cell structure which mixes parallel and series inter-junction connections was briefly investigated. Out of these different ideas, the windowless parallel design holds the most promise with the hybrid design coming in second place. Given some optimization and fabrication, there may be more efficient solar cells on the market featuring multi-junctions with parallel inter-connections.

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