Broadband optical absorption enhancement through coherent light trapping in thin-film photovoltaic cells.

Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Optics Express (Impact Factor: 3.55). 05/2008; 16(8):5385-96. DOI: 10.1364/OE.16.005385
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We show that optical absorption in thin-film photovoltaic cells can be enhanced by inserting a tuned two-component aperiodic dielectric stack into the device structure. These coatings are a generalization and unification of the concepts of an anti-reflection coating used in solar cells and high-reflectivity distributed Bragg mirror used in resonant cavity-enhanced narrowband photodetectors. Optimized two-component coatings approach the physically realizable limit and optimally redistribute the spectral photon density-of-states to enhance the absorption of the active layer across its absorption spectrum. Specific designs for thin-film organic solar cells increase the photocurrent under AM1.5 illumination, averaged over all incident angles and polarizations, by up to 40%.

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    ABSTRACT: Finite-difference time-domain method is employed to investigate the optical properties of semiconductor thin films patterned with circular holes. The presence of holes enhances the coupling of the incident plane wave with the thin film and greatly enhances the absorption performance. For a typical 100 nm thin film, the optimal hole pattern is achieved when the hole radius is 180 nm and volume fraction is about $30\%$. Disorderness can alter the absorption spectra and has an impact on the broadband absorption performance. The non-uniform radius of holes can slightly broaden the absorption peaks and enhance the integrated absorption. Random hole position can completely change the shape of the absorption spectra and the averaged integrated absorption efficiency is slightly smaller than the optimized ordered nanohole pattern. Compared to random positioned nanoholes or ordered nanohole, amorphous arrangement of nanoholes will result in a much better absorption performance. However, it is also found that the absorption enhancement of amorphous pattern over an ordered pattern is weak when the incident angle departures from normal or when the intrinsic material absorption is strong.

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