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Development of III-V Semiconductor Materials for Thermophotovoltaic Cells

Jurczak, Pamela Agata; (2017) Development of III-V Semiconductor Materials for Thermophotovoltaic Cells. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Thermophotovoltaic energy conversion (TPV) is concerned with generation of power from heat sources. Multiple types of TPV systems have been developed so far; unfortunately, they all suffer from high losses and low overall efficiencies, usually only around 1%. Their performances could be greatly enhanced by high efficiency converter cells, development of which is the main concern of the work presented in this thesis. The first part focuses on research into materials suitable for fabrication of TPV cells. Low bandgap III-V and group IV semiconductors such as GaInAs, InAsP or GeSn were investigated. Then the thesis describes the model used to simulate behaviour of TPV cells under different illumination conditions. The results show that best performances are achieved for cells bandgap matched to the emission of the radiator. Maximum theoretical efficiency of 27% has been predicted for cells with 0.43 eV bandgaps and a light trapping architecture operating with a source at 1800 K delivering 500 kW.m-2 of power. The chapter on modelling is followed by detailed description of growth, fabrication and characterisation of GaInAs TPV devices. Quality of the grown material, its morphology and composition have been evaluated and then the processing steps for contacts deposition have been briefly explained. They are followed by a discussion of optical and electrical measurements for the fabricated devices. The last chapter describes details of growth and characterisation of InAs nanowires. Using nanostructures such as nanowires rather than bulk materials has significant advantages. Nanowires can be grown on virtually any substrate, which allows for integration with Si for CMOS-compatible devices. The improvement of optical properties of InAs nanowires has been the chief objective of this part of the thesis. Through a series of photoluminescence measurements, it has been demonstrated that capping the core-InAs nanowires with an InP passivation layer increases the photoluminescence emission up to ten times.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Development of III-V Semiconductor Materials for Thermophotovoltaic Cells
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10026102
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