This paper reports the simulated performance of monocrystalline CdTe/MgCdTe double-heterostructure solar cells using both the detailed-balance model and the drift-diffusion model. The Shockley-Queisser model predicts the limiting efficiency of an idealized solar cell with unity absorptance above the bandgap energy and zero below. However, practical solar cells do not have step-function absorptance spectra due to finite absorber thickness, non-ideal anti-reflection coating, Urbach tail, etc. This paper develops a detailed-balance model for solar cells with finite absorber thicknesses and arbitrary absorptance spectra, which can be calculated using the material property and sample structure of a solar cell. The drift-diffusion model is solved numerically using PC1D software while taking into account the photon recycling (PR) effects by adjusting the effective radiative recombination coefficient with a PR factor of the solar cell. With the inclusion of the PR effect, simulation results from PC1D agree well with the detailed-balance limit when non-radiative recombination is negligible. The expected efficiencies of a monocrystalline CdTe/MgCdTe double-heterostructure solar cell are calculated as a function of minority carrier lifetime. A 28.7 % efficiency is potentially achievable for monocrystalline CdTe/MgCdTe DH solar cells with a SRH lifetime of 2.7 μs demonstrated very recently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2015 IEEE 42nd Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781479979448
StatePublished - Dec 14 2015
Event42nd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2015 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2015Jun 19 2015


Other42nd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans


  • CdTe
  • detailed-balance model
  • double heterostructure
  • photon recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


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