Low-intensity low-temperature (LILT) measurements and coefficients on new photovoltaic structures

David A. Scheiman*, Phillip P. Jenkins, David J. Brinker, Joseph Appelbaum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Past NASA missions to Mars, Jupiter and the outer planets were powered by radioisotope thermal generators. Although these devices proved to be reliable, their high cost and highly toxic radioactive heat source has made them far less desirable for future planetary missions. This has resulted in a renewed search for alternate energy sources, some of them being photovoltaics (PV) and thermophotovoltaics. Both of these alternate energy sources convert light/ thermal energy directly into electricity. In order to create a viable PV database for planetary mission planners and cell designers, we have compiled low-intensity low-temperature (LILT) I-V data on single-junction and multijunction high-efficiency solar cells. The cells tested here represent the latest PV technology. Using these LILT data to calculate short-circuit current, open-circuit voltage and fill factor as a function of temperature and intensity, an accurate prediction of cell performance under the AM0 spectrum can be determined. When combined with quantum efficiency at low temperature data, one can further enhance the data by adding spectral variations to the measurements. This paper presents an overview of LILT measurements and is only intended to be used as a guideline for material selection and performance predictions. As single-junction and multi-junction cell technologies emerge, new test data must be collected. Cell materials included are Si, GaAs/Ge, GaInP/GaAs/GaAs, InP, InGaAs/InP, InP/InGaAs/InP and GaInP. Temperatures range down to as low as -180°C and intensities range from 1 sun down to 0.02 sun. The coefficients presented in this paper represent experimental results and are intended to provide the user with approximate numbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


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