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Opt Express. 2010 Jun 21;18 Suppl 2:A139-46. doi: 10.1364/OE.18.00A139.

Enhanced absorption in optically thin solar cells by scattering from embedded dielectric nanoparticles.

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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.


We present a concept for improving the efficiency of thin-film solar cells via scattering from dielectric particles. The particles are embedded directly within the semiconductor absorber material with sizes on the order of one wavelength. Importantly, this geometry is fully compatible with the use of an anti-reflective coating (ARC) to maximize light capture. The concept is demonstrated through finite-difference time domain (FDTD) simulations of spherical SiO(2) particles embedded within a 1.0 microm layer of crystalline silicon (c-Si) utilizing a 75 nm ARC of Si(3)N(4). Several geometries are presented, with gains in absorbed photon flux occurring in the red end of the spectrum where silicon absorption is weak. The total integrated absorption of incident photon flux across the visible AM-1.5 spectrum is on the order of 5-10% greater than the same geometry without any dielectric scatterers.


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