Why Is Gallium Arsenide Better Than Silicon in Solar Cell Production?  


October 18, 2021

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Although manufacturers traditionally use the silicon wafer as the basis for creating solar cells, researchers face several barriers that scale-up silicon-based solar technology. To develop high-efficiency solar cells used to power drones, cell phones, and electric vehicles, they discovered that the GaAs wafer is the better choice. When it comes to accepting and transferring sunlight into usable electrical energy, this class of semiconductor material has proven to be more efficient than silicon.

GaAs Wafer in Solar Panels

Reasons Why Gallium Arsenide Solar Cells Are More Efficient Than Silicon

Electron Mobility

In solid-state physics, electron mobility refers to how quickly an electron moves through a metal or semiconductor as an electric field pulls it. Several factors affect semiconductor mobility. These factors include impurity concentrations, temperature, defect concentration, and electron and hole concentrations.

However, electrons that go through a gallium arsenide (GaAs) crystalline structure generally move faster than those that go through a silicon structure. In other words, GaAs structures promote more excellent solar energy conversion.

High Efficiency

Thanks to a broad distribution of solar emitted photons, a single-bandgap solar cell can achieve the maximum theoretical efficiency of 33.5% with non-concentrated sunlight. Compared to other existing solar cells, GaAs solar cells produce more power in any surface area because they have a record efficiency rating.

Resistance to Heat and Moisture

A semiconductor’s thermal stability has a direct effect on a solar cell’s performance. For this reason, understanding the environmental factors that impact the degradation and failure of PV modules is essential to solar cell manufacturing.

GaAs is naturally resistant to heat, moisture, radiation, and ultraviolet light. Since this material can withstand harsh conditions, it’s the ideal material for solar energy applications.

Flexibility and Size

Even a sliver of GaAs on top of a flexible substrate can maintain the flexible and lightweight properties while maintaining the efficiency levels required to charge various electronic devices. Likewise, GaAs wafers in smaller solar cells absorb more sunlight than their silicon counterparts because of their higher efficiency.

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