Photon-enhanced thermionic emission solar energy converters with GaAs wire array cathode under external electric field

  • Yu Diao
  • Lei LiuEmail author
  • Sihao Xia
Original Article


In this work, a theoretical emission model for GaAs wire array cathode based on photon-enhanced thermionic emission (PETE) under the action of external electric field is deduced utilizing two-dimensional continuity equations. With the electron energy distribution and elevation angle of emitted electron considered, the electron collection probability for each emission surface of GaAs wire array cathode varying with the field intensity is simulated. Combining emission current density with electron collection probability, the effective collection current density of GaAs wire array cathode is obtained. Results suggest that the external electric field can effectively enhance the collection probability of emitted electrons within GaAs wire array, which contributes to the improvement of the actual photoelectric conversion capability of GaAs wire array cathodes. For GaAs wire array cathodes, the effective collection current density can reach the maximum value with the incident angle of 20° and field intensity of 0.9 V/μm. Applying a transparent phosphorus-doped diamond film as the anode material, the simulated conversion efficiency increases from 18.85 to 44.80% as the electron affinity of GaAs wire cathode rises from 0 to 0.6 eV.


GaAs wire array cathode Photon-enhanced thermionic emission External electric field Electron collection 



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

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest in either personal or financial aspects.


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Copyright information

© King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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