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Investigation of new solar cell technology III-V//Si behavior under irradiations for space applications

Abstract : This work focuses on the behavior in space environment of a new photovoltaic solar cell technology: the III-V//Si tandems (2- and 3-junction), obtained by direct bonding. These cells have been exposed to electron and proton irradiations and tested in two types of environment: a) normal irradiance, 1 sun, and 300K room temperature, NIRT condition (Earth orbits) and b) low irradiance, 0.03 sun, and 120K low temperature, LILT condition (deep space). In a preliminary stage, a comparative study was conducted on 2 solar simulators, respectively equipped with a flash lamp and LED lamps, in order to ensure the reliability and reproducibility of the measurements of these multi-junctions. For the flash simulator, a tandems characterization method for I-V under 1 sun that dispense the use of isotype reference cells has been adopted, based on EQE and flash spectrum measurements. For the LED simulator, mounted in-situ on the irradiation beam, a spectrum optimization was performed in order to approach the low irradiance reference, i.e. ~3% AM0. This comparative study also allowed to establish the validity of the extrapolation by calculating I-V measurements under 1 sun towards low irradiances.Then, the compatibility of this tandem III-V//Si technology with thermal cycling on the one hand and irradiances on the other hand has been demonstrated. The bonding interface maintains its mechanical and electrical integrity face to these constraints. The impact of the irradiations on the cell performances has revealed certain similarities at 300 K and 120 K: - a marked decrease in the short-circuit current (linked to the decrease in the diffusion length) - a smaller decrease in the open-circuit voltage (generation type defects). Due to the series connection of the sub-cells, the degradation of the limiting Si (low intrinsic resistance to irradiation) dominates the behavior of the multi-junction. It has been shown that the addition of an increasing number of cells on the Si results in an increased sensitivity to irradiation; indeed, the tandem configuration restricts the absorption band of the Si to the near infrared, the spectral part most affected by the decrease in diffusion length. The use of a model based on the IQE allowed the qualification of this diffusion length degradation of the Si in tandem, as well as the damage coefficient. Unlike electrons, 1 MeV proton irradiations are at the origin of a non-homogeneous degradation in Si; by EQE measurements coupled with simulation, we have correlated this non-homogeneous degradation in Si with the position of the corresponding Bragg peak.For the low-temperature study, a linear increase in efficiency was observed up to ~150K; and below this, anomalies of I V characteristics were detected; of "S-like shape" and "flat spot" type, these defects affect the FF and thus the efficiency. Reported in the literature, these effects are characteristic of LILT conditions, and are often related to changes in the metal/semiconductor interfaces. Although significant, the LILT end-of-life electrical performance degradation of III-V//Si has been shown to be more predictable than that of III-V/Ge LILT (statistical dispersion). We have also shown that a 300 K annealing after irradiation at 120 K leads to a marked healing of the short-circuit current; this underlines the importance of in-situ characterizations to quantify cell aging under operating conditions. The Displacement Damage Dose (DDD) approach was applied for 1 MeV electrons and protons in order to compare the rate of induced degradation. This approach allows to predict the degradation of these cells whatever the fluence, particles and energy, for a space mission at 300 K.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 7, 2021 - 3:56:18 PM
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Karim Medjoubi. Investigation of new solar cell technology III-V//Si behavior under irradiations for space applications. Physics [physics]. Institut Polytechnique de Paris, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021IPPAX004⟩. ⟨tel-03220969⟩

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