On the thermodynamic limit of photovoltaic energy conversion

  title={On the thermodynamic limit of photovoltaic energy conversion},
  author={Alexis De Vos and Herman J. Pauwels},
  journal={Applied physics},
An infinite stack ofp—n junctions with smoothly varying bandgap from ∞ to 0 is considered. AnI —V characteristic is derived, which is more correct than the classical exponential characteristic. It is shown that open-circuit operation is a reversible process and leads to the Carnot efficiency, if one defines the efficiency in the way that is usual in the theory of thermodynamic engines. If instead one uses the definition of efficiency usual in photovoltaics, open-circuit mode gives rise to zero… Expand
A thermodynamic cycle for photovoltaic energy conversion
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  • Physics
  • IEEE Conference on Photovoltaic Specialists
  • 1990
A thermodynamic analysis of the standard solar cell is presented. By using internal energy and entropy continuity equations for the electrons and holes, a free-energy equation for the whole deviceExpand


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  • Proceedings of the IRE
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We shall be interested in the steady state E = S = 0. The pumping system p (the “hot reservoir”) is assumed to deliver entropy and energy at rates S, and En to the working fluid. Heat Q is deliveredExpand
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  • IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory
  • 1968