Radiation Damage to GaAs Solar Cells Including Isotropic Effects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Govind S. Khandewal

Committee Director

John W. Wilson

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.P48S76


A model is developed for the short circuit current of a GaAs solar cell due to radiation (proton or electron) induced defects in the crystal structure. This model is verified by a comparison with proton and electron irradiation results. For electron radiation and energetic protons (energy> 10 MeV), it is found that the damage in the crystal is independent of the angle of incidence. On the other hand, for lower energy proton radiation, the damage as a function of cell thickness is highly dependent on incident angle and energy. The cell's response to low energy protons is strongly dependent on the depth of the cell's junction. The concept of an equivalent electron fluence for specific radiation fluences is examined and equivalent electron fluence ratios are derived for monoenergetic proton beams. The formalism for this concept is applied to three radiation fluences which are encountered in space; they are solar cosmic ray {SCR), radiation encountered at geosynchronous orbit (electron and proton). and a combination of these two fluences. These three fluences are used in the model to find a cover-glass thickness to increase the usefulness of GaAs solar cells for space-power applications. It is found that a cover-glass is ineffective in reducing electron radiation damage.


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