Dr Jean-François GUILLEMOLES

Dr Jean-François GUILLEMOLES

Research Director
CNRS, France

Characterizing the solar cell that does not exist (yet): from new concept to proof of concept

Characterizing solar cells that have been made can be at times challenging enough, especially when these are heterogeneous, or have unusual transport properties. Could we go one step further, yet, and consider characterizing the performance of solar cells that are not yet completed? There are a number of instances where this possibility could be useful, for instance when promising materials (e.g. molecules, polymers, complex multinary compounds …) have been made but the device technology is not available. There is another, perhaps rarer, instance when this is also desirable: when it is not a material really that is to be tested, but a non-standard photovoltaic conversion process as in e.g. Hot Carrier, or Photothermoelectric, or Intermediate Band, or MEG Solar Cells.

As with any energy conversion process, access to key thermodynamic properties is crucial, and those are essential to evaluate the electric free energy that can be recovered from light. As it turns out, light emission from solids (luminescence), when used properly and in suitable cases, can help recover these thermodynamic quantities, and on top of that, can also be used to measure collection efficiency, non-radiative recombination rates, diffusion length etc… i.e. a number of essential transport properties related to the system investigated [1,2,3].

We will here show how a methodology can be developed to extract relevant information on the  performance of exotic photovoltaic conversion processes, even when a device has not been made and will illustrate this with the example of Hot Carrier Solar Cells, as well as other devices (IBSC, Ultrathin devices, nanocells, …). [4,5,6,7]


JF Guillemoles is a Research Director (DR1) at CNRS, Director of NextPV (2014-) an international joint lab between CNRS and the RCAST (University of Tokyo), where he is also visiting professor. He is currently active on high efficiency concepts for solar energy conversion (Hot Carriers, Intermediate Band, Multijunctions, Nanophotonics), luminescence-based characterization techniques (esp. Hyperspectral imaging), and modeling of photovoltaic materials and devices. He is author/co-author of more than 300 publications (peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, patents, proceedings).