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Porous multi junction thin-film silicon solar cells for splitting
Monolithic solar water splitting devices implemented in an integrated design approach, i.e. submerged in the electrolyte, pose a significant limitation when it comes to up-scaling. The ion transport distances around the monolith are long and consequently, the ionic Ohmic losses become high. This fact turns out to be a bottleneck for reaching high device efficiency and maintaining optimum performance upon up-scaling. In this paper, we propose a new device design for integrated monolithic solar water splitting based on porous multi-junction silicon solar cells. Simulation results highlight that porous monoliths can benefit from lower ionic Ohmic losses compared to dense monoliths for various pore geometries and monolith thicknesses. In particular, we show how micrometer scale pore dimensions could greatly reduce Ohmic losses, thereby minimizing overpotentials. A square array of holes with a diameter of 20 pm and a period of 100 gm was fabricated on single junction and multi-junction amorphous and microcrystalline silicon solar cells. A small impact on the open circuit voltage (V-cc) and short circuit current density (J(sc)) was obtained, with porous triple junction solar cells reaching V-oc values up to 1.98 V. A novel device design is proposed based on porous triple-junction silicon-based solar cells.

Authors: C. Trompoukis, A. Abass, J. W. Schuttauf, T. Bosserez, J. Ronge, J. Lauwaert, et al.

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