Optimum single-gap solar cells for missions to Mercury

López Estrada, Esther and Martí Vega, Antonio and Llorens, J.M. and Buencuerpo, J. and Versloot, T. (2016). Optimum single-gap solar cells for missions to Mercury. "Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets", v. Online ; pp. 1-5. ISSN 0022-4650. https://doi.org/10.2514/1.a33533.

Description

Title: Optimum single-gap solar cells for missions to Mercury
Author/s:
  • López Estrada, Esther
  • Martí Vega, Antonio
  • Llorens, J.M.
  • Buencuerpo, J.
  • Versloot, T.
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Date: 14 July 2016
ISSN: 0022-4650
Volume: Online
Subjects:
Faculty: Instituto de Energía Solar (IES) (UPM)
Department: Electrónica Física
UPM's Research Group: Silicio y Nuevos Conceptos para Células Solares
Creative Commons Licenses: None

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Abstract

The power supply for space probes is usually based on photovoltaic (PV) systems. The first solar cells used in these systems were single-gap solar cells fabricated with Si and GaAs. Later on, multijunction solar cells (MJSC) based on III–V semiconductors were developed because of their higher efficiency and tolerance to a radiation environment [1]. All these solar cells have been based on semiconductors that fulfill the needs of most near-Earth missions. However, those same semiconductors fail to meet the needs of some other missions involving harsh environments such as high-intensity high-temperature (HIHT) environments [2]. In this work, we investigate which semiconductor material is optimum to implement single-gap solar cells for missions to Mercury, where HIHT conditions are expected. Because solar cell efficiency decreases as temperature increases [3], achieving high-efficiency photovoltaic conversion at HIHT conditions is a big challenge. Previous works have pointed out the need of using wide-bandgap semiconductors to reach this goal [4,5]. In this context, we will study the potential of solar cells based on AlxGa1−xAs, a well-known semiconductor whose physical properties have been extensively investigated. The limiting efficiency of these solar cells performing in near-Mercury missions will be calculated to determine the optimum composition for AlxGa1−xAs.

Funding Projects

TypeCodeAcronymLeaderTitle
Madrid Regional GovernmentS2013/MAE-2780MADRID-PVAntonio Martí VegaMateriales, dispositivos y tecnología para el desarrollo de la Industria fotovoltaica

More information

Item ID: 42857
DC Identifier: http://oa.upm.es/42857/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:42857
DOI: 10.2514/1.a33533
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.2514/1.A33533
Deposited by: Prof. Antonio Martí Vega
Deposited on: 18 Jul 2016 10:18
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2019 15:01
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