Life on the Urbach Edge

Esma Ugur, Martin Ledinský, Thomas Allen, Jakub Holovský, Aleš Vlk, Stefaan De Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The Urbach energy is an expression of the static and dynamic disorder in a semiconductor and is directly accessible via optical characterization techniques. The strength of this metric is that it elegantly captures the optoelectronic performance potential of a semiconductor in a single number. For solar cells, the Urbach energy is found to be predictive of a material's minimal open-circuit-voltage deficit. Performance calculations considering the Urbach energy give more realistic power conversion efficiency limits than from classical Shockley-Queisser considerations. The Urbach energy is often also found to correlate well with the Stokes shift and (inversely) with the carrier mobility of a semiconductor. Here, we discuss key features, underlying physics, measurement techniques, and implications for device fabrication, underlining the utility of this metric.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7702-7711
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
StatePublished - Aug 12 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-09-14
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): IED OSR-2019-4208, IED OSR-2019-4580, OSR-CARF/CCF-3079, OSR-CRG2019-4093, OSR-CRG2020-4350, REI/1/4833-01-01
Acknowledgements: This publication is based upon work supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under award nos. OSR-CARF/CCF-3079, OSR-CRG2019-4093, OSR-CRG2020-4350, IED OSR-2019-4208, IED OSR-2019-4580, and REI/1/4833-01-01. J.H. acknowledges the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports grant no. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000464 (Centre of Advanced Photovoltaics). M.L. and A.V. acknowledge grant no CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_026/0008382 (CARAT) and LUASK 22202. M.L., J.H., and A.V. also acknowledge the use of the CzechNanoLab research infrastructure supported by the MEYS (LM2018110).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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