Thermodynamic efficiency limit of excitonic solar cells

Noel C. Giebink, Gary P. Wiederrecht, Michael R Wasielewski, Stephen R. Forrest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

114 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Excitonic solar cells, comprised of materials such as organic semiconductors, inorganic colloidal quantum dots, and carbon nanotubes, are fundamentally different than crystalline, inorganic solar cells in that photogeneration of free charge occurs through intermediate, bound exciton states. Here, we show that the Second Law of Thermodynamics limits the maximum efficiency of excitonic solar cells below the maximum of 31% established by Shockley and Queisser for inorganic solar cells (whose exciton-binding energy is small). In the case of ideal heterojunction excitonic cells, the free energy for charge transfer at the interface, ΔG, places an additional constraint on the limiting efficiency due to a fundamental increase in the recombination rate, with typical -ΔG in the range 0.3 to 0.5 eV decreasing the maximum efficiency to 27% and 22%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195326
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume83
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 31 2011

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thermodynamic efficiency
Solar cells
solar cells
Thermodynamics
Excitons
excitons
Carbon Nanotubes
Semiconducting organic compounds
organic semiconductors
Binding energy
Free energy
Semiconductor quantum dots
Heterojunctions
Charge transfer
heterojunctions
Carbon nanotubes
binding energy
carbon nanotubes
free energy
quantum dots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

Cite this

Thermodynamic efficiency limit of excitonic solar cells. / Giebink, Noel C.; Wiederrecht, Gary P.; Wasielewski, Michael R; Forrest, Stephen R.

In: Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, Vol. 83, No. 19, 195326, 31.05.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Giebink, Noel C. ; Wiederrecht, Gary P. ; Wasielewski, Michael R ; Forrest, Stephen R. / Thermodynamic efficiency limit of excitonic solar cells. In: Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics. 2011 ; Vol. 83, No. 19.
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