Light trapping in solar cells: Simple design rules to maximize absorption

Kezheng Li, Sirazul Haque, Augusto Martins, Elvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins, Manuel J. Mendes, Christian S. Schuster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Solar cells can strongly benefit from optical strategies capable of providing the desired broadband absorption of sunlight and consequent high conversion efficiency. While many diffractive light-trapping structures prove high absorption enhancements, their industrial application rather depends on simplicity concerning the integration to the solar cell concept and the process technology. Here, we show how simple grating lines can perform as well as advanced light-trapping designs. We use a shallow and periodic grating as the basic element of a quasi-random structure, which is highly suitable for industrial mass production. Its checkerboard arrangement breaks the mirror symmetry and is shown, for instance, to enhance the bulk current of a 1 µm slab of crystalline silicon by 125%. We explain its excellent performance by drawing a direct link between a structure's Fourier series and the implied photocurrent, derived from a large and diverse set of structures. Our design rule thus meets all relevant aspects of light-trapping for solar cells, clearing the way for simple, practical, and yet outstanding diffractive structures, with a potential impact beyond photonic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1377-1384
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2020


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