Gallium Arsenide: The Solar Cell for this Decade 841441
The GALLIUM ARSENIDE (GaAs) solar cell provides appreciable improvements in efficiency, weight, and in-orbit degradation over the conventional silicon cell. This paper discusses the development of the GaAs cell with attention to the extensive ground and flight tests. Although the GaAs cell is qualified and ready for application on satellites, it is more expensive than the silicon cell. Cost reduction programs are under way along with other improvements that may allow the cell to replace silicon for the majority of satellite applications.