Suppressing the Effect of the Wetting Layer through AlAs Capping in InAs/GaAs QD Structures for Solar Cells Applications
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DepartmentCiencia de los Materiales e Ingeniería Metalúrgica y Química Inorgánica; Física de la Materia Condensada
SourceNanomaterials, Vol. 12, Núm. 8
Recently, thin AlAs capping layers (CLs) on InAs quantum dot solar cells (QDSCs) have been shown to yield better photovoltaic efficiency compared to traditional QDSCs. Although it has been proposed that this improvement is due to the suppression of the capture of photogenerated carriers through the wetting layer (WL) states by a de-wetting process, the mechanisms that operate during this process are not clear. In this work, a structural analysis of the WL characteristics in the AlAs/InAs QD system with different CL-thickness has been made by scanning transmission electron microscopy techniques. First, an exponential decline of the amount of InAs in the WL with the CL thickness increase has been found, far from a complete elimination of the WL. Instead, this reduction is linked to a higher shield effect against QD decomposition. Second, there is no compositional separation between the WL and CL, but rather single layer with a variable content of InAlGaAs. Both effects, the high intermixing and WL reduction cause a drastic change in electronic levels, with the CL making up of 1-2 monolayers being the most effective configuration to reduce the radiative-recombination and minimize the potential barriers for carrier transport.