Advanced Physics of Thermoelectric Generators and Photovoltaic Cells
American Journal of Physics and Applications
Volume 6, Issue 5, September 2018, Pages: 133-141
Received: Oct. 4, 2018; Accepted: Oct. 22, 2018; Published: Dec. 3, 2018
Views 465      Downloads 79
Salama Abdelhady, Faculty of Energy Engineering, Aswan University, Aswan, Egypt
Article Tools
Follow on us
The measured efficiencies of modern photovoltaic solar cells that exceed the limit determined by Shockley and Queisser indicate a need for advanced physics to solve such conflict. Similarly, the duality confusion represents another conflict that acquires new physics. Such conflicts and confusions were recently solved by using an innovative definition of the nature of electric current as electromagnetic waves of electric potential. This definition was used to find also plausible physical explanation of the results of Tesla’s experiment of transmission of electric power in space and the success of Faraday in polarizing light by electric field in one of his experiments. Additionally, literature failed to find plausible physical explanation of estimating the electric potential of the output electric current from thermopiles and thermoelectric generators as the sum of electric potentials gained in crossing the junctions of these devices. It is shown in this paper that the introduced nature of electric current leads to advanced and plausible physical explanation of such results. It is shown also in this paper that the electric potential of the output electric current from multijunction photovoltaic cells can be estimated, similar to the thermopiles and TEG, as sum of electric potentials gained in crossing the junctions of these cells. Such similarity between the relations applied in estimating the gained potentials in all these multijunction-devices in addition to the relation found by Goldsmid and Sharp between the Seebeck coefficient and the energy bandgap prove that the Photovoltaic effect and the Seebeck effect corresponds simply to the same phenomenon. In other words; the gained potential in photovoltaic cells is generated by the thermal potential of the incident radiation and the difference of the Seebeck coefficients of the materials of its junctions. Such advanced physics may represent a gateway to understand other phenomena in the nature.
Thermopiles, Thermoelectric Generators, Multi-Junctions Photovoltaic Cells, Seebeck Effect, Photovoltaic Effect, Energy Bandgap
To cite this article
Salama Abdelhady, Advanced Physics of Thermoelectric Generators and Photovoltaic Cells, American Journal of Physics and Applications. Vol. 6, No. 5, 2018, pp. 133-141. doi: 10.11648/j.ajpa.20180605.14
Copyright © 2018 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abdelhady, S., A fundamental equation of thermodynamics that embraces electrical and magnetic potentials. J. Electromagnetic Analysis & Applications 2010; 2: 162.
Abdelhady, S., Cheng, C. H., Advanced Thermodynamics Engineering 1st Edn, (Scitus Academics. NY; 2018, p. 244.
Abdelhady, S., An advanced review of thermodynamics of electromagnetism. International Journal of Research studies in Science, Engineering and Technology 2015; 3: 10.
Abdelhady, S., An entropy approach to Tesla’s discovery of wireless power transmission. J. Electromagnetic Analysis & Applications 2013; 5:157.
Abdelhady, S., Review of thermodynamics of systems that embraces the transfer of electric and magnetic energies, Journal of Physical Science and Application 2018; 8: 1.
Abdelhady, S., Innovative understanding of the duality confusion, the photovoltaic and magnetocaloric effects. Ain Shams Engineering Journal, Engineering Physics and Mathematics 2017; 8 In Press.
Ryan, DT., Towards a cognitive-historical understanding of Michael Faraday’s research: editor’s introduction, Prospect Sci. 2006; 4: 1
Tesla, N., The Effect of Static on Wireless Transmission, Electrical Experimenter, 1919; 1: 627.
Christopher, R. H., Marshall, T. C., Stolzenburg, M., Estimations of charge transferred and energy released by lightning flashes,” J. of geophysical research 2009; 114: 14203.
Shockley, W., Queisser, H. J. Detailed balance limit of efficiency of p-n junction solar cells, Journal of Applied Physics 1961; 32: 510.
Goldsmid, H. J., Sharp, J. W., Estimation of thermal bandgap from the Seebeck coefficient measurements, Journal of electronic materials, Vol. 28, No. 7, (1999).
Herwaarden, A. W. Sarro, Van, P. M. Thermal Sensors Based on The Seebeck Effect, Sensors and Actuators, 10, 321 (1986).
Rowe, D. M. Thermoelectrics Handbook: Macro to Nano, 1st edn,, Taylor & Francis, NY 2006, p. 412.
Bulusu, A., Walker, D. G., Review of electronic transport models for thermoelectric materials. Superlattices and Microstructures 2008; 44: 1.
Riffat, S. B., Ma, X., Thermoelectrics: A review of present and potential applications, Appl. Therm. Eng. 200; 3: 913.
Skrabek, E. A., Trimmer, D. M. CRC Handbook of Thermoelectrics. 1st edn, CRC Press, Boca Raton 1994, p. 129.
B. J., A precise measurement of temperature difference using thermopiles, Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science 1990; 3: 265.
Snyder, G., Thermoelectric Efficiency and Compatibility, Physical Review Letters 2003; 91: 14.
Smith, J. P., diSessa, A. A., Roschelle, J. Misconceptions reconceived: A constructivist analysis of knowledge in transition. Journal of the Learning Sciences, (1994); 3: 2.
Prashantha, K., Wango, S., Smart power generation from waste heat by thermoelectric generator, International Journal of Mechanical and Production Engineering, 2016; Special Issue: 2020.
Sun, S., Qiu, K., Wu, Z., Xing, H. Y., Evaluation on High-Efficiency Thermoelectric Generation Systems Based on Differential Power Processing, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics 2018; 65: 699.
Bell, L. E., “High Power Density Thermoelectric Systems”, Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Thermoelectrics, Adelaide, Australia, 2004: 210.
Harman, T. C., et al. "Quantum Dot Superlattice Thermoelectric Materials and Devices”, Science 2002; 297: 2229.
Luque, A. Handbook of Photovoltaics Science and Engineering, 2nd edn Wiley, NY, 2010. p. 447.
Tsakalakos L. Introduction to Photovoltaic Physics, Applications, and Technologies (CRC Press, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2010. p. 435.
Abdelhady, S., Comments on Einstein’s explanation of electrons, photons, and the photo-electric effect. Applied Physics Research 2011; 3: 230.
Burnett, B., The Basic Physics and Design of III-V Multijunction Solar Cells, NREL’s III-V research group, 2002. p. 1283
Friedman, D. J., Kurtz, S. R., Breakeven Criteria for the GaInNAs Junction in GaInP/GaAs/GaInNAs/Ge Four-junction Solar Cells, Prog. Photovolt: Res. Appl 2002; 10: 331.
Tanabe, K., Ehrenreich, H., Martin, J. H., Solar Photovoltaic Energy, Physics Today 1979; 32: 25.
Herwaarden, A. V. The Seebeck Effect in Silicon ICs. Sensors and Actuators 1984; 6: 245. DOI 10.1016/0250-6874(84)85020-9
Abdelhady, S, An entropy approach to a practical limit of the efficiencies of developed multijunction solar cells. J. Electromagnetic Analysis & Applications6, 383-390, (2014).
Abdelhady, S., Thermodynamic Analysis of Energy Flow in Optical Fiber Communication Systems. Applied Physics Research 2012; 4: 22. doi:10.5539/apr.v4n3p22
Nolas, G. S, Sharp, J., Goldsmid, J., Thermoelectrics: Basic Principles and New Materials Developments, Springer; Amazon, Springer, 2001, p. 432.
Zhang, Y., et al, Measurement of Seebeck coefficient perpendicular to SiGe superlattice layers, 21st International Conference on Thermoelectrics, Long Beach CA 2002, p. 26.
Abdelhady, S. et al. Thermodynamics: Fundamentals and its Application in Science, Auris Reference, London, 2017, p. 142.
Buljan, M., Mendes, J., Benitez, P., Minano, J. C., Recent trends in concentrated photovoltaics concentrators’ architecture, J. Photonics Energy2014; 4: 1.
Ian, M., et al, Performance of III–V Solar Cells as Indoor Light Energy Harvesters, IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics 2015: 2156.
Simon Welzmiller et al, Increasing Seebeck Coefficients and Thermoelectric Performance of Sn/Sb/Te and Ge/Sb/Te Materials by Cd Doping; Adv. Electron. Mater. 2012; 1: 1500266.
Stephanie Essig, Myles A. Steiner, Christopher, Realization of GaInP/Si Dual-Junction Solar Cells With 29.8% 1-Sun Efficiency Published in: IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics 2016; 6: 4.
Arto, A., Tukiainen, A., Polojärvi, V., Mircea, Guina. Performance assessment of multijunction solar cells incorporating GaInNAsSb, Nanoscale Research Letters 2014; 9:61.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186