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Nanoscale. 2013 Aug 7;5(15):6627-40. doi: 10.1039/c3nr01152f.

Efficient photon management with nanostructures for photovoltaics.

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  • 1Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST), Hong Kong SAR, China.


Efficient photon management schemes are crucial for improving the energy conversion efficiency of photovoltaic devices; they can lead potentially to reduced material usage and cost for these devices. In this review, photon trapping mechanisms are discussed briefly in the beginning, followed by a summary of recent progress on a number of major categories of nanostructures with intriguing photon management properties. Specifically, nanostructures including nanowires, nanopillars, nanopyramids, nanocones, nanospikes, and so forth, have been reviewed comprehensively with materials including Si, Ge, CdS, CIGS, ZnO, etc. It is found that these materials with diverse configurations have tunable photon management properties, namely, optical reflectance, transmittance and absorption. Investigations on these nanostructures have not only shed light on the fundamental interplay between photons and materials at the nanometer scale, but also suggested a potential pathway for a new generation of photovoltaic devices.

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