Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 7, pp 5605–5614 | Cite as

High-performance GaAs nanowire cathode for photon-enhanced thermionic emission solar converters

  • Lei LiuEmail author
  • Yu Diao
  • Sihao Xia
Electronic materials


GaAs nanowire cathodes with exponential doping and graded Al composition structures are proposed for photon-enhanced thermionic emission (PETE) devices. The conversion efficiency models with these two nanowire cathodes are deduced on the basis of one-dimensional continuity equations. The conversion efficiency as a function of wire length, wire width, Al composition distribution, cathode temperature, emissive surface and back interface recombination velocity are also simulated, respectively. Results show that exponential doping and graded Al composition cathode structures can obviously improve the conversion efficiency of devices through introducing a built-in electric field along the growth direction of nanowire. Besides, the optimum wire length and wire width range are 300–340 nm and 5.9–6.4 μm, respectively. Moreover, wider Al composition range is beneficial to achieve higher conversion efficiency. These simulations provide an interesting attempt to explore the working mechanism of GaAs nano-based PETE devices and are expected to be verified by the experimental results in the future.



This work has been partially sponsored by the Six Talent Peaks Project in Jiangsu Province (2015-XCL-008), by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (30916011206), by the Qing Lan Project of Jiangsu Province (2017-AD41779) and by the Postgraduate Research & Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province (KYCX18_0402).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Optoelectronic Technology, School of Electronic and Optical EngineeringNanjing University of Science and TechnologyNanjingChina

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