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Photovoltaic effect in ferroelectrics

Cai Tian-Yi Ju Sheng

Photovoltaic effect in ferroelectrics

Cai Tian-Yi, Ju Sheng
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  • Ferroelectric oxides are attractive materials for constructing efficient solar cells. The mechanism includes the anomalous photovoltaic effect (APE) and the bulk photovoltaic effect (BPE). The BPE refers to the generation of a steady photocurrent and above-bandgap photovoltage in a single-phase homogeneous material lacking inversion symmetry. The mechanism of BPE is different from the typical p-n junction-based photovoltaic mechanism in heterogeneous materials. We survey the history, development and recent progress in understanding the mechanisms of BPE, with a focus on the shift current mechanism, an intrinsic BPE that is universal to all materials lacking inversion symmetry. We also review the important factors to the APE, i.e., the domain boundary, the Schottcky junction, and the depolarization field. The recent successful applications of inorganic and hybrid perovskite structured materials in solar cells emphasize that ferroelectrics can be used in conventional photovoltaic architectures. We review the development in this field, with a particular emphasis on the perovskite materials and the theoretical explanations. In addition to discussing the implication of a ferroelectric absorber layer and the solid state theory of polarization, the design principles and prospect for high-efficiency ferroelectric photovoltaics are also mentioned. Considering the coupling between the degrees of freedom, some special ferroelectrics are expected to have prominent multi-functionality. With the introduction of the additional degree of freedom, some ferroelectrics, i.e., ScFexCr1-xO3 (1/6 x 5/6), can be a promising candidate for highly efficient solar cells and spin photovoltaic devices.
      Corresponding author: Cai Tian-Yi, caitianyi@suda.edu.cn;jusheng@suda.edu.cn ; Ju Sheng, caitianyi@suda.edu.cn;jusheng@suda.edu.cn
    • Funds: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11374220, 11204193), the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2014CB920900), the Qinlan Project of Jiangsu Province, and the Dongwu Scholar Project of Soochow University.
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  • Received Date:  18 May 2018
  • Accepted Date:  13 June 2018
  • Published Online:  05 August 2018

Photovoltaic effect in ferroelectrics

Fund Project:  Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11374220, 11204193), the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2014CB920900), the Qinlan Project of Jiangsu Province, and the Dongwu Scholar Project of Soochow University.

Abstract: Ferroelectric oxides are attractive materials for constructing efficient solar cells. The mechanism includes the anomalous photovoltaic effect (APE) and the bulk photovoltaic effect (BPE). The BPE refers to the generation of a steady photocurrent and above-bandgap photovoltage in a single-phase homogeneous material lacking inversion symmetry. The mechanism of BPE is different from the typical p-n junction-based photovoltaic mechanism in heterogeneous materials. We survey the history, development and recent progress in understanding the mechanisms of BPE, with a focus on the shift current mechanism, an intrinsic BPE that is universal to all materials lacking inversion symmetry. We also review the important factors to the APE, i.e., the domain boundary, the Schottcky junction, and the depolarization field. The recent successful applications of inorganic and hybrid perovskite structured materials in solar cells emphasize that ferroelectrics can be used in conventional photovoltaic architectures. We review the development in this field, with a particular emphasis on the perovskite materials and the theoretical explanations. In addition to discussing the implication of a ferroelectric absorber layer and the solid state theory of polarization, the design principles and prospect for high-efficiency ferroelectric photovoltaics are also mentioned. Considering the coupling between the degrees of freedom, some special ferroelectrics are expected to have prominent multi-functionality. With the introduction of the additional degree of freedom, some ferroelectrics, i.e., ScFexCr1-xO3 (1/6 x 5/6), can be a promising candidate for highly efficient solar cells and spin photovoltaic devices.

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