Multi-junction solar cells with multiple p-n junctions made of different semiconductor materials have multiple bandgaps that allow reducing the relaxation energy loss and substantially increase the power-conversion efficiency. The choice of materials for each sub-cell is very limited due to the difficulties in extracting the current between the layers caused by the requirements for lattice- and current-matching. We propose a new vacuum multi-junction solar cell with multiple p-n junctions separated by vacuum gaps that allow using different semiconductor materials as cathode and anode, both activated to the state of effective negative electron affinity (NEA). In this work, the compact proximity focused vacuum tube with the GaAs(Cs,O) photocathode and AlGaAs/GaAs-(Cs,O) anode with GaAs quantum wells (QWs) is used as a prototype of a vacuum single-junction solar cell. The photodiode with the p-AlGaAs/GaAs anode showed the spectral power-conversion efficiency of about 1% at V bias = 0 in transmission and reflection modes, while, at V bias = 0.5 V, the efficiency increased up to 10%. In terms of energy conservation, we found the condition at which the energy cathode-to-anode transition was close to 1. Considering only the energy conservation part, the NEA-cell power-conversion efficiency can rich a quantum yield value which is measured up to more than 50%.
- ENHANCED THERMIONIC EMISSION
- GAAS(100) SURFACES