ASTM E1021 - 12

    Standard Test Method for Spectral Responsivity Measurements of Photovoltaic Devices

    Active Standard ASTM E1021 | Developed by Subcommittee: E44.09

    Book of Standards Volume: 12.02


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    ASTM E1021

    Significance and Use

    The spectral responsivity of a photovoltaic device is necessary for computing spectral mismatch parameter (see Test Method E973). Spectral mismatch is used in Test Method E948 to measure the performance of photovoltaic cells in simulated sunlight, in Test Methods E1036 to measure the performance of photovoltaic modules and arrays, in Test Method E1125 to calibrate photovoltaic primary reference cells using a tabular spectrum, and in Test Method E1362 to calibrate photovoltaic secondary reference cells. The spectral mismatch parameter can be computed using absolute or relative spectral responsivity data.

    This test method measures the differential spectral responsivity of a photovoltaic device. The procedure requires the use of white-light bias to enable the user to evaluate the dependence of the differential spectral responsivity on the intensity of light reaching the device. When such dependence exists, the overall spectral responsivity should be equivalent to the differential spectral responsivity at a light bias level somewhere between zero and the intended operating conditions of the device.

    The spectral responsivity of a photovoltaic device is useful for understanding device performance and material characteristics.

    The procedure described herein is appropriate for use in either research and development applications or in product quality control by manufacturers.

    The reference photodetectors calibration must be traceable to SI units through a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) spectral responsivity scale or other relevant radiometric scale. , The calibration mode of the photodetector (irradiance or power) will affect the procedures used and the kinds of measurements that can be performed.

    This test method does not address issues of sample stability.

    Using results obtained by this test method and additional measurements including reflectance versus wavelength, one can compute the internal quantum efficiency of a device. These measurements are beyond the scope of this test method.

    This test method is intended for use with a single-junction photovoltaic cell. It can also be used to measure the spectral responsivity of a single junction within a series-connected, multiple-junction photovoltaic device if electrical contact can be made to the individual junction(s) of interest.

    With additional procedures (see Test Methods E2236), one can determine the spectral responsivity of individual junctions within series-connected, multiple-junction, photovoltaic devices when electrical contact can only be made to the entire devices two terminals.

    Using forward biasing techniques , it is possible to extend the procedure in this test method to measure the spectral responsivity of individual series-connected cells within photovoltaic modules. These techniques are beyond the scope of this test method.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method is to be used to determine either the absolute or relative spectral responsivity response of a single-junction photovoltaic device.

    1.2 Because quantum efficiency is directly related to spectral responsivity, this test method may be used to determine the quantum efficiency of a single-junction photovoltaic device (see 10.10).

    1.3 This test method requires the use of a bias light.

    1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

    E772 Terminology of Solar Energy Conversion

    E927 Specification for Solar Simulation for Photovoltaic Testing

    E948 Test Method for Electrical Performance of Photovoltaic Cells Using Reference Cells Under Simulated Sunlight

    E973 Test Method for Determination of the Spectral Mismatch Parameter Between a Photovoltaic Device and a Photovoltaic Reference Cell

    E1036 Test Methods for Electrical Performance of Nonconcentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Modules and Arrays Using Reference Cells

    E1125 Test Method for Calibration of Primary Non-Concentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Reference Cells Using a Tabular Spectrum

    E1362 Test Method for Calibration of Non-Concentrator Photovoltaic Secondary Reference Cells

    E2236 Test Methods for Measurement of Electrical Performance and Spectral Response of Nonconcentrator Multijunction Photovoltaic Cells and Modules

    G173 Tables for Reference Solar Spectral Irradiances: Direct Normal and Hemispherical on 37 Tilted Surface


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 27.160 (Solar energy engineering)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 32111701(Photovoltaic cells)


    DOI: 10.1520/E1021-12

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