Thermodynamic efficiency of nanoscale photovoltaics

A. Niv, M. Gharghi, X. Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Current views of photovoltaic efficiency adopt a ray perspective of light and therefore cannot be applied to devices with sophisticated light coupling mechanisms, where phenomena from the realm of near field optics prevail. We use the fluctuation dissipation theorem to derive a thermodynamic estimation of the electromagnetic source strength within a semiconductor. This allows for a photovoltaic efficiency calculation that considers the full vectorial wave nature of light. The approach is demonstrated by analyzing the performance of a model solar cell down to thicknesses of few nanometers. The effect of near field optics on the performance of the device is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Instrumentation for Energy and Environmental Applications, E2 2012
PublisherOptical Society of America (OSA)
ISBN (Electronic)9781557529527
StatePublished - 11 Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Instrumentation for Energy and Environmental Applications, E2 2012 - Eindhoven, Netherlands
Duration: 11 Nov 201214 Nov 2012

Publication series

NameOptics InfoBase Conference Papers
ISSN (Electronic)2162-2701


ConferenceOptical Instrumentation for Energy and Environmental Applications, E2 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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