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Polymer Encapsulants Incorporating Light-Guiding Architectures to Increase Optical Energy Conversion in Solar Cells

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Polymer Encapsulants Incorporating Light-Guiding Architectures to Increase Optical Energy Conversion in Solar Cells

Saeid Biria et al. Adv Mater.

Abstract

The fabrication of a new type of solar cell encapsulation architecture comprising a periodic array of step-index waveguides is reported. The materials are fabricated through patterning with light in a photoreactive binary blend of crosslinking acrylate and urethane, wherein phase separation induces the spontaneous, directed formation of broadband, cylindrical waveguides. This microstructured material efficiently collects and transmits optical energy over a wide range of entry angles. Silicon solar cells comprising this encapsulation architecture show greater total external quantum efficiencies and enhanced wide-angle light capture and conversion. This is a rapid, straightforward, and scalable approach to process light-collecting structures, whereby significant increases in cell performance may be achieved.

Keywords: external quantum efficiency; optical coatings; polymers; solar cells; waveguides.

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