Photovoltaic Cell

A unit which generates a voltage related to the light intensity impinging on it.

Solar photovoltaic devices are made of various semiconductor materials including:

and they are made in different forms:


The material that readily absorbs photons to generate charge carriers (either free electrons or holes).

Barrier Energy

The energy given up by an electron in penetrating the cell barrier; a measure of the electrostatic potential of the barrier.

Cell Barrier or Depletion Zone

A very thin region of static electric charge along the interface of the positive and negative layers in a photovoltaic cell.

The barrier inhibits the movement of electrons from one layer to the other, so that higher-energy electrons from one side diffuse preferentially through it in one direction, creating a current and thus a voltage across the cell.

Cell Junction

The area of immediate contact between two layers (positive and negative) of a photovoltaic cell. The junction lies at the centre of the cell barrier or depletion zone.

Energy Contribution Potential

Recombination occurring in the emitter region of a photovoltaic cell.

See also: Electromotive Force, Photovoltaic Array, Solar Cell, Solar Cell Efficiency, Thermophotovoltaics.

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Subjects: Electronics