Depletion approximation¶
The depletion approximation provides an analytical  or semianalytical  solution to the Poissondriftdiffusion equations described in the previous section applied to simple PN homojunction solar cells. Historically, it has been used extensively to model solar cells and it is still valid, to a large extent, for traditional PN junctions. More importantly, it requires less input parameters than the PDD solver and these can be easily related to macroscopic measurable quantities, like mobility or diffusion lengths. The DA model is based on the assumption that around the junction between the P and N regions, there are no free carriers and therefore all the electric field is due to the fixed, ionized dopants. This “depletion” of free carriers reaches a certain depth towards the N and P sides; beyond this region, free and fixed carriers of opposite charges balance and the regions are neutral. Under these conditions, Poisson’s equation decouples from the drift and diffusion equations and it can be solved analytically for each region. For example, for a PN junction with the interface between the two regions at , the solution to Poisson’s equation will be:
where and are the extensions of the depletion region towards the N and P sides, respectively, and can be found by the requirement that the electric field and the potential need to be continuous at . is the builtin voltage, which can be expressed in terms of the doping concentration on each side, and , and the intrinsic carrier concentration in the material, :
Another consequence of the depletion approximation is that the quasiFermi level energies are constant throughout the corresponding neutral regions and also constant in the depletion region, where their separation is equal to the external bias . Based on these assumptions, the driftdiffusion equations simplify and an analytical expression can be found for the dependence of the recombination and generation currents on the applied voltage. A full derivation of these expressions is included in Nelson (2003) ([1]).
Solcore’s implementation of the depletion approximation includes two modifications to the basic equations. The first one is allowing for an intrinsic region to be included between the P and N regions to form a PIN junction. For low injection conditions (low illumination or low bias) this situation can be treated as described before, simply considering that the depletion region is now widened by the thickness of the intrinsic region. Currently, no low doping level is allowed for this region.
The second modification is related to the generation profile, which in the equations provided by Nelson is given by the BL law which has an explicit dependence on and results in analytic expressions for the current densities. In Solcore, we integrate the expressions for the driftdiffusion equations under the depletion approximation numerically to allow for an arbitrary generation profile calculated with any of the optical solvers. It should be noted that although the equations are integrated numerically this will not be a selfconsistent solution of the Poissondriftdiffusion equations, as is achieved by the PDD solver.
Detailed balance functions¶

solcore.analytic_solar_cells.depletion_approximation.
identify_parameters
(junction, T, pRegion, nRegion, iRegion)[source]¶

solcore.analytic_solar_cells.depletion_approximation.
iv_depletion
(junction, options)[source]¶ Calculates the IV curve of a junction object using the depletion approximation as described in J. Nelson, “The Physics of Solar Cells”, Imperial College Press (2003). The junction is then updated with an “iv” function that calculates the IV curve at any voltage.
Parameters:  junction – A junction object.
 options – Solver options.
Returns: None.

solcore.analytic_solar_cells.depletion_approximation.
get_j_dark
(x, w, l, s, d, V, minority, T)[source]¶ Parameters:  x – width of top junction
 w – depletion width in top junction
 l – diffusion length
 s – surface recombination velocity
 d – diffusion coefficient
 V – voltage
 minority – minority carrier density
 T – Temperature
Returns: J_top_dark

solcore.analytic_solar_cells.depletion_approximation.
get_Jsrh
(ni, V, Vbi, tp, tn, w, kbT, dEt=0)[source]¶

solcore.analytic_solar_cells.depletion_approximation.
forward
(ni, V, Vbi, tp, tn, w, kbT, dEt=0)[source]¶ Equation 27 of Sah’s paper. Strictly speaking, it is not valid for intermediate negative bias.

solcore.analytic_solar_cells.depletion_approximation.
factor
(V, Vbi, tp, tn, kbT, dEt=0)[source]¶ The integral of Eq. 27 in Sah’s paper. While it is coninuum (in principle) it has to be done in two parts. (or three)

solcore.analytic_solar_cells.depletion_approximation.
get_J_sc_diffusion
(xa, xb, g, D, L, y0, S, wl, ph, side='top')[source]¶ Parameters:  xa –
 xb –
 g –
 D –
 L –
 y0 –
 S –
 wl –
 ph –
 side –
Returns: out

solcore.analytic_solar_cells.depletion_approximation.
qe_depletion
(junction, options)[source]¶ Calculates the QE curve of a junction object using the depletion approximation as described in J. Nelson, “The Physics of Solar Cells”, Imperial College Press (2003). The junction is then updated with an “iqe” and several “eqe” functions that calculates the QE curve at any wavelength.
Parameters:  junction – A junction object.
 options – Solver options.
Returns: None.