The key challenge for massive utilization of solar energy is the high cost of existing solar conversion devices. Enhancing solar absorption by light trapping consists of a major strategy for the cost reduction and efficiency improvement of the devices. Regardless the significant advances that have been achieved so far, techniques to trap solar light more efficiently is needy to further lower the cost. We demonstrate a new approach to achieve extraordinary enhancement in the absorption of sunlight by exploring core-shell nanostructures. The core-shell structure consists of absorbing semiconductors and non-absorbing dielectric materials, such as ZnO, Si3N4. We thoroughly examine the fundamental physics underlying this strong absorption enhancement, and, building on the fundamental understanding, propose new designs of high-performance light trapping for practical solar cells.

© 2012 OSA

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