Photovoltaics for Space

Photovoltaics for Space

Key Issues, Missions and Alternative Technologies

1st Edition - October 26, 2022

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  • Editors: Sheila Bailey, Aloysius Hepp, Dale Ferguson, Ryne Raffaelle, Steven Durbin
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128233009
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128233016

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PV has traditionally been used for electric power in space. Solar panels on spacecraft are usually the sole source of power to run the sensors, active heating and cooling, and communications. Photovoltaics for Space: Key Issues, Missions and Alternative Technologies provides an overview of the challenges to efficiently produce solar power in near-Earth space and beyond: the materials and device architectures that have been developed to surmount these environmental and mission-specific barriers. The book is organized in four sections consisting of detailed introductory and background content as well as a collection of in-depth space environment, materials processing, technology, and mission overviews by international experts. This book will detail how to design and optimize a space power system’s performance for power-to-weight ratio, effectiveness at end of operational life (EOL) compared to beginning of operational life (BOL), and specific mission objectives and goals. This book outlines the knowledge required for practitioners and advanced students interested in learning about the background, materials, devices, environmental challenges, missions, and future for photovoltaics for space exploration.

Key Features

  • Provides an update to state-of-the-art and emerging solar cell technologies
  • Features comprehensive coverage of solar cells for space exploration and materials/device technology options available
  • Explains the extreme conditions and mission challenges to overcome when using photovoltaics in space


Researchers & professionals in mechanical, aerospace, and electrical engineering. Professionals in the space power and/or space solar cell fields, government, and commercial industries

Table of Contents

  • PART ONE Introduction: technologies, issues, and applications

    1. An introduction to space photovoltaics: technologies, issues, and missions

    Ryne P. Raffaelle

    1.1 Introduction to the photovoltaic effect and solar cell

    1.2 First-generation space photovoltaics: missions, technologies, and issues

    1.3 The next era in space: new materials and missions in low-earth orbit

    1.4 New device and advanced materials technologies into the 21st century

    1.5 Exploration of Mars and beyond: notable solar-powered spacecraft

    1.6 Conclusions

    2. Space solar arrays and spacecraft charging

    D.C. Ferguson, D.P. Engelhart, R.C. Hoffmann, V.J. Murray and E.A. Plis

    2.1 Introduction to spacecraft charging

    2.2 Arcing: effects, standards, and mitigation

    2.3 Models of environment and charging

    2.4 Conclusions: the necessity for testing

    3. Air mass zero (AM0) studies and solar cell calibration

    Carsten Baur, Emilio Fernández Lisbona and José Ramón González

    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 Primary calibration

    3.3 Secondary calibration and measurements of MJ solar cells

    3.4 Conclusions

    4. Space applications of III-V single- and multijunction solar cells

    Philip T. Chiu

    4.1 Space solar cells: applications and challenges

    4.2 Physics of single-junction solar cells

    4.3 Silicon and gallium arsenide-based single-junction solar cells

    4.4 Physics of multijunction solar cells

    4.5 Indium gallium phosphide/gallium arsenide-based dual-junction solar cells

    4.6 InGaP/GaAs/Ge-based 3J solar cells

    4.7 Lattice-mismatched 3J solar cells

    4.8 Lattice-mismatched quadruple (four)-junction solar cells

    4.9 Lattice mismatched quintuple (five)-junction solar cells

    4.10 Conclusions

    5. Perovskite solar cells: background and prospects for space

    power applications

    Lyndsey McMillon-Brown and Timothy J. Peshek

    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 Characteristics of perovskite solar cells

    5.3 Use of perovskites for space power: issues and opportunities for improvement

    5.4 Conclusion

    6. Photovoltaics and nuclear energy conversion for space power: background and issues

    Mark Antonio Prelas, Tariq Rizvi Alam and Modeste Tchakoua Tchouaso

    6.1 Introduction

    6.2 Radiation damage

    6.3 Radioisotopes

    6.4 Energy conversion technologies

    6.5 Conclusions

    PART TWO Materials: focus on new technologies and advanced processing

    7. Perovskite solar cells on the horizon for space power systems

    Brandon K. Durant, Ian R. Sellers and Bibhudutta Rout

    7.1 Background of perovskite solar cells

    7.2 Defect tolerance and ion mobility

    7.3 Particle radiation tolerance

    7.4 Thermal stability

    7.5 Conclusion and outlook

    8. Thermophotovoltaic energy conversion in space

    Alejandro Datas and Donald L. Chubb

    8.1 Introduction

    8.2 Thermal-to-electric energy conversion in space

    8.3 Overview of thermophotovoltaic energy conversion

    8.4 Thermophotovoltaic systems for space applications

    8.5 Conclusions

    9. Thin-film materials for space power applications

    Ina T. Martin, Kyle Crowley and Aloysius F. Hepp

    9.1 Introduction

    9.2 Materials, devices, and impact of the space environment

    9.3 Thin-film solar cells in space: past, present, and future

    9.4 Conclusions

    10. Inverted lattice-matched GaInP/GaAs/GaInNAsSb triple-junction solar cells: epitaxial lift-off thin-film devices and potential space applications

    Naoya Miyashita and Yoshitaka Okada

    10.1 Introduction

    10.2 Design and growth of GaInNAs 1.0-eV subcells

    10.3 Hybrid growth approach for MJSCs and ELO devices

    10.4 Conclusion

    11. Summary of the design principles of betavoltaics and space applications

    Tariq Rizvi Alam, Modeste Tchakoua Tchouaso and Mark Antonio Prelas

    11.1 Nuclear batteries

    11.2 Different types of nuclear batteries

    11.3 Betavoltaic batteries

    11.4 Basic operation of betavoltaic batteries

    11.5 Radiation damage in betavoltaic batteries

    11.6 Radioisotopes for betavoltaic batteries

    11.7 Betavoltaic batteries: results and analysis

    11.8 Recent advances in betavoltaic batteries

    11.9 Principles of betavoltaic battery design

    11.10 Betavoltaic batteries for space applications

    11.11 Conclusions

    PART THREE Near earth and deep-space missions

    12. Solar array designs for deep space science missions

    Carolyn R. Mercer

    12.1 Introduction

    12.2 Modern missions using multiple wings or paddles

    12.3 Missions using single solar panels

    12.4 Missions using body-mounted solar arrays

    12.5 Rideshare missions

    12.6 Future trends

    12.7 Conclusion

    13. Lunar science based on Apollo solar cell measurements

    S. Aranya, G. Gopkumar and T.E. Girish

    13.1 Introduction

    13.2 Solar cells used for the Apollo 14 dust detector experiment

    13.3 Details of solar cell data used in this study

    13.4 Variations of output of Apollo 14 solar cells within a lunation period

    13.5 Annual variations of the solar cell output on the Moon

    13.6 Solar proton events: Long-term degradation of Apollo 14 silicon solar cells

    13.7 Discussion and analysis

    13.8 Conclusions

    14. Space photovoltaics for extreme high-temperature missions

    Geoffrey A. Landis

    14.1 Introduction

    14.2 Solar cell operating temperature and efficiency

    14.3 Temperature coefficient(s)

    14.4 Approaches to solar arrays for near-Sun missions

    14.5 Solar arrays with constant power at variable heliocentric distance

    14.6 Thermal conversion for near-Sun missions

    14.7 Earlier near-Sun missions

    14.8 Parker Solar Probe

    14.9 Photovoltaic power at Venus

    14.10 Conclusions

    15. Space photovoltaic concentrators for outer planet and near-Sun missions using ultralight Fresnel lenses

    Mark J. O’Neill

    15.1 Introduction and summary

    15.2 A brief history of space PV concentrator technology

    15.3 Description of the latest space fresnel lens photovoltaic concentrators

    15.4 Recent lens developments

    15.5 Recent multijunction cell developments

    15.6 Recent graphene radiator developments

    15.7 Performance metrics and cost savings

    15.8 Conclusions

    16. Technological relevance and photovoltaic production potential of high-quality silica deposits on Mars

    T.E. Girish, Thara N. Sathyan and Varnana M. Kumar

    16.1 Introduction

    16.2 Spatial distribution and silica content of high-quality deposits on Mars

    16.3 Expected performance of Si solar cells on Mars

    16.4 Potential of silicon solar cell manufacturing on Mars

    16.5 Conclusions

    17. Space nuclear power: radioisotopes, technologies, and the future

    Modeste Tchakoua Tchouaso, Tariq Rizvi Alam and Mark Antonio Prelas

    17.1 Introduction

    17.2 Radioisotope availability

    17.3 Radioisotope power systems

    17.4 Practical aspects of SNP systems

    17.5 Conclusions: future of nuclear power technologies

Product details

  • No. of pages: 534
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2022
  • Published: October 26, 2022
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128233009
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128233016

About the Editors

Sheila Bailey

Dr. Sheila Bailey was a senior scientist in the Photovoltaics and Electrochemical Systems Branch at NASA Glenn Research Center, where she has worked from 1985-2018. She received her Bachelor’s (Duke) and Master’s (UNC) degrees in Physics and her Ph.D. in Solid State Physics (Univ. of Manchester, UK). She taught at Baldwin Wallace University for 27 years and has been an associate faculty member of the International Space University. Dr. Bailey’s PV work has centered around advanced etching, epitaxial lift off and quantum dot (QD) solar cells. She is co-author of over 150 publications in various aspects of solar cell materials processing and applications for space exploration. She has also authored numerous chapters in books and co-edited several books on this topic. She serves on editorial boards of several PV journals as a space PV expert.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Physicist (Retired), NASA Glenn Research Center, USA

Aloysius Hepp

Aloysius F. Hepp earned a PhD in Inorganic Photochemistry in 1983 from MIT. He retired in December 2016 from the Photovoltaic & Electrochemical Systems Branch of the NASA Glenn Research Center. Dr. Hepp has co-authored nearly 200 publications (including six patents) focused on processing of thin film and nanomaterials for I-III-VI solar cells, Li-ion batteries, integrated power devices and flight experiments, and precursors and spray pyrolysis deposition of sulfides and carbon nanotubes. He has co-edited twelve books on advanced materials processing, energy conversion and electronics, biomimicry and aerospace technologies. He is currently Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing (MSSP) and is currently the chair of the International Advisory Board of MSSP, as well as serving on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Mater. Sci. and Engin. B and Heliyon - all Elsevier journals.

Affiliations and Expertise

Chief Technologist, Nanotech Innovations LLC and Science Advisory Board Member, CoreWater Technologies, Inc., Oberlin, OH, USA

Dale Ferguson

Dale C. Ferguson received the Ph.D. degree from The University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1974. He is currently the Lead for Spacecraft Charging Science and Technology with the Space Vehicles Division, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, NM. For nearly 40 years, he has been addressing spacecraft charging problems, first with the NASA and now with AFRL. He is the author of more than 200 publications. He has been the Principal Investigator on numerous spaceflight experiments, including the Wheel Abrasion Experiment on the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover.

Affiliations and Expertise

Space Vehicles Division, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Ryne Raffaelle

Ryne P. Raffaelle (RPR) earned both a BS and MS in Physics from Southern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in Physics from Missouri University of Science and Technology. He is the Vice President for Research and Associate Provost at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He is the former Director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at the National Renewable Energy Lab of the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to serving at NREL, he was the Academic Director for the Golisano Institute for Sustainability and Director of the NanoPower Research Laboratory at RIT. He has worked as a visiting scientist at the NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA Kennedy Research Center, and DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is the author of over 200 refereed publications. He is on the Advisory Board of Elsevier’s Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing and is the Managing Editor of Progress in Photovoltaics, published by Wiley Interscience. He is the co-editor of several books on photovoltaics and nanotechnologies.

Affiliations and Expertise

Vice President for Research and Associate Provost for Research, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, USA

Steven Durbin

Steven Durbin received the BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University. Prior to joining Western Michigan University in 2013, he taught at the Florida State University, the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), and the University at Buffalo (SUNY). He is a senior member of the IEEE, and a member of the American Physical Society, the Materials Research Society, and the Royal Society of New Zealand. His interests include novel semiconductors, oxide and nitride compounds, molecular beam epitaxy, pulsed laser deposition, and Schottky contact based devices and have resulted in > 150 publications. Prof. Durbin is currently Editor-in-Chief of Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing since 2016.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Western Michigan University, USA

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