Photovoltaic hysteresis and its ramifications for concentrator solar cell design and diagnostics Academic Article uri icon


  • We report the observation of a photovoltaic effect with pronounced hysteresis. The phenomenon derives from the sharp transition in the dominant mode of electron transport in the tunnel diodes that regulate multijunction solar cells, and is only observable at high flux. These results emerged from measurements of cell current-voltage characteristics performed with miniature fiber-optic solar concentrators that can deliver flux levels up to 10 000 times that of ambient sunlight in a highly localized fashion. The ramifications of our findings for photovoltaic design, diagnostics, and performance are addressed, and a nondestructive determination of the peak and valley threshold current densities of tunnel diodes is presented.

publication date

  • January 1, 2005