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Schematic of a hot carrier solar cell. Electron–hole pairs are photogenerated in the absorber and kept hot (temperature , is the ambient temperature) where the thermalization rate with the lattice is slow enough. They are ideally extracted through energy selective contacts with a narrow transmission range for minimal heat flux with an extraction energy close to . are the electron and hole chemical potential, respectively, in the absorber, and are the Fermi levels in the electrodes.
Conversion efficiency vs extraction energy at various thermalization rates, for a 1 eV band gap absorber under full concentration with highly selective contacts . : no thermalization in the absorber, : fast thermalization. A value of was measured with GaAs quantum wells samples (Ref. 7). is the average energy of absorbed photons, i.e., 1.91 eV for a 6000 K black body spectrum.
Efficiency (circles) and losses (heat losses in absorber: squares, heat flux at contacts: up triangles) vs contact selectivity for a 1 eV absorber under full concentration of sun light with suppressed thermalization (filled markers) or with a thermalization factor (empty markers). The extraction energy is optimized for each value of the thermalization factor and for a transmission range .
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