Modeling single junction solar cells composed of III–V semiconductors such as GaAs with the effects of photon recycling yields insight into design and material criteria required for high efficiencies. For a thin-film single junction GaAs cell to reach 28.5% efficiency, simulation results using a recently developed model which accounts for photon recycling indicate that Shockley–Read–Hall (SRH) lifetimes of electrons and holes must be longer than 3 and , respectively, in a thin active region, and that the native substrate must be removed such that the cell is coupled to a highly reflective rear-side mirror. The model is generalized to account for luminescence coupling in tandem devices, which yields direct insight into the top cell’s nonradiative lifetimes. A heavily current mismatched tandem device is simulated and measured experimentally as a function of concentration between 3 and 100 suns. The luminescence coupling increases from 14% to 33% experimentally, whereas the model requires increasing electron and hole SRH lifetimes to explain these results. This could be an indication of the saturating defects which mediate the SRH process. However, intermediate GaAs layers between the two subcells may also contribute to the luminescence coupling as a function of concentration.