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Recent trends in photovoltaics demand ever-thin solar cells to allow deployment in consumer-oriented products requiring low-cost and mechanically flexible devices. For this, nanophotonic elements in the wave-optics regime are highly promising, as they capture and trap light in the cells' absorber, enabling its thickness reduction while improving its efficiency. Here, novel wavelength-sized photonic structures were computationally optimized toward maximum broadband light absorption. Thin-film silicon cells were the test bed to determine the best performing parameters and study their optical effects. Pronounced photocurrent enhancements, up to 37%, 27%, and 48%, respectively, in ultra-thin (100- and 300-nm-thick) amorphous, and thin (1.5-mm) crystalline silicon cells are demonstrated with honeycomb arrays of semi-spheroidal dome or void-like elements patterned on the cells' front. Also importantly, key advantages in the electrical performance are anticipated, since the photonic nano/micro-nanostructures do not increase the cell roughness, therefore not contributing to recombination, which is a crucial drawback in state-of-the-art light-trapping approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-254
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2018


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