Solar Cell Simulation 

Advanced simulation tools to improve performance and reduce cost 

The rapid growth in photovoltaic production capacity and deployment has been accompanied by intense efforts to reduce production costs and raise solar cell performance. Established companies and new entrants alike face a dynamic marketplace characterized by significant growth opportunities and increased competition. To succeed in this marketplace, companies developing solar cells and modules must deliver cost-effective and innovative products, often relying on new materials and structural concepts. Solar cell simulation, a field with a long history of successes and contributions to the technology, provides a detailed physical description of solar cell operation, allowing engineers and scientists to optimize current designs and explore new concepts. Solar cell simulation is typically used for improving the conversion efficiency and other electrical performance criteria but it can also be used to correlate the impact of process variation to parametric yield, thereby lowering production costs.

TCAD Sentaurus addresses mono- and multi-crystalline silicon, compound multi-junction and thin film (a-Si, CdTe, CIGS) solar cell technologies. It simulates dark and light I-V curves, conversion efficiency, fill factor and other key cell performance attributes using monochromatic or standard solar spectra (e.g. AM1.5g) illumination. Optical solvers are available to handle light propagation and absorption. Surface and bulk recombination, trapping, and other detailed physical phenomena affecting charge transport within the cell are fully accounted for. TCAD Sentaurus also supports mixed-mode simulations, combining numerical simulations and lumped circuit elements to analyze, for example, resistive losses in the metal grid.

Key Features
  • Flexible structure generation and meshing in 2-D and 3-D
  • Simulation of silicon process fabrication steps
  • Support for heterostructures and arbitrary materials
  • Choice of optical solvers: transfer matrix method (TMM), ray tracing, FDTD
  • Mixed-mode simulation, combining numerical and lumped circuit elements
  • Process compact models for statistical analysis and yield enhancement