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, 8 (12), 4391-7

Plasmonic Nanostructure Design for Efficient Light Coupling Into Solar Cells

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Plasmonic Nanostructure Design for Efficient Light Coupling Into Solar Cells

Vivian E Ferry et al. Nano Lett.

Abstract

We demonstrate that subwavelength scatterers can couple sunlight into guided modes in thin film Si and GaAs plasmonic solar cells whose back interface is coated with a corrugated metal film. Using numerical simulations, we find that incoupling of sunlight is remarkably insensitive to incident angle, and that the spectral features of the coupling efficiency originate from several different resonant phenomena. The incoupling cross section can be spectrally tuned and enhanced through modification of the scatterer shape, semiconductor film thickness, and materials choice. We demonstrate that, for example, a single 100 nm wide groove under a 200 nm Si thin film can enhance absorption by a factor of 2.5 over a 10 microm area for the portion of the solar spectrum near the Si band gap. These findings show promise for the design of ultrathin solar cells that exhibit enhanced absorption.

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