Abstract

Thin silicon solar cells suffer from low light absorption compared to their thick counterparts, especially in the near infra-red regime. In order to obtain high energy conversion efficiency in thin solar cells, an efficient light trapping scheme is required. In this paper, we theoretically demonstrate significant enhancement in efficiency of thin crystalline silicon solar cells by using photonic crystals as the light absorbing layer. In particular, a relative increase of 11.15% and 3.87% in the energy conversion efficiency compared to the optimized conventional design is achieved for 2μm and 10μm thicknesses, respectively.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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  1. K. A. Münzer, K. T. Holdermann, R. E. Schlosser, and S. Sterk, "Thin Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 46, 2055-2061 (1999).
    [CrossRef]
  2. E. Yablonovich and G. D. Cody, "Intensity Enhancement in Textured Optical Sheets for Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices ED-29, 300-305 (1982).
    [CrossRef]
  3. L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
    [CrossRef]
  4. P. Bermel, C. Luo, L. Zeng, L. C. Kimerling, and J. D. Joannopoulos, "Improving thin-film crystalline silicon solar cell efficiencies with photonic crystals," Opt. Express 15, 16986-17000 (2007), http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-15-25-16986.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. N. Feng, J. Michel, L. Zeng, J. Liu, C.-Y. Hong, L. C. Kimerling, and X. Duan, "Design of Highly Efficient Light-Trapping Structures for Thin-Film Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 54, 1926-1933 (2007).
    [CrossRef]
  6. D. Zhou and R. Biswas, "Photonic crystal enhanced light-trapping in thin film solar cells," J. App. Phys. 103, 093102 (2008).
    [CrossRef]
  7. A. Chutinan and S. John, "Light trapping and absorption optimization in certain thin-film photonic crystal architectures," Phys. Rev. A 78, 023825 (2008).
    [CrossRef]
  8. P. Sheng, A. N. Bloch, and R. S. Stepleman, "Wavelength-selective absorption enhancement in thin-film solar cells," Appl. Phys. Lett. 43, 579-581 (1983).
    [CrossRef]
  9. J. M.  Gee, "Optically enhanced absorption in thin silicon layers using photonic crystals," in Proceedings of 29th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, New Orleans, LA, 2002), pp. 150-153.
  10. D. M. Whittaker and I. S. Culshaw, "Scattering-matrix treatment of patterned multilayer photonic structures," Phys. Rev. B 60, 2610-2618 (1999).
    [CrossRef]
  11. C. M. Herzinger, B. Johs, W. A. McGahan, J. A. Woollam, and W. Paulson, "Ellipsometric determination of optical constants for silicon and thermally grown silicon dioxide via a multi-sample, multi-wavelength, multi-angle investigation," J. Appl. Phys. 83, 3323-3336 (1998).
    [CrossRef]
  12. ASTMG173-03, Standard Tables for Reference Solar Spectral Irradiances: Direct Normal and Hemispherical on 37 degree Tilted Surface (ASTM International, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, 2005).
    [PubMed]
  13. C. H. Henry, "Limiting efficiencies of ideal single and multiple energy gap terrestrial solar cells," J. Appl. Phys. 51, 4494-4500 (1980).
    [CrossRef]

2008 (2)

D. Zhou and R. Biswas, "Photonic crystal enhanced light-trapping in thin film solar cells," J. App. Phys. 103, 093102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

A. Chutinan and S. John, "Light trapping and absorption optimization in certain thin-film photonic crystal architectures," Phys. Rev. A 78, 023825 (2008).
[CrossRef]

2007 (2)

N. Feng, J. Michel, L. Zeng, J. Liu, C.-Y. Hong, L. C. Kimerling, and X. Duan, "Design of Highly Efficient Light-Trapping Structures for Thin-Film Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 54, 1926-1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

P. Bermel, C. Luo, L. Zeng, L. C. Kimerling, and J. D. Joannopoulos, "Improving thin-film crystalline silicon solar cell efficiencies with photonic crystals," Opt. Express 15, 16986-17000 (2007), http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-15-25-16986.
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2006 (1)

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
[CrossRef]

1999 (2)

K. A. Münzer, K. T. Holdermann, R. E. Schlosser, and S. Sterk, "Thin Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 46, 2055-2061 (1999).
[CrossRef]

D. M. Whittaker and I. S. Culshaw, "Scattering-matrix treatment of patterned multilayer photonic structures," Phys. Rev. B 60, 2610-2618 (1999).
[CrossRef]

1998 (1)

C. M. Herzinger, B. Johs, W. A. McGahan, J. A. Woollam, and W. Paulson, "Ellipsometric determination of optical constants for silicon and thermally grown silicon dioxide via a multi-sample, multi-wavelength, multi-angle investigation," J. Appl. Phys. 83, 3323-3336 (1998).
[CrossRef]

1983 (1)

P. Sheng, A. N. Bloch, and R. S. Stepleman, "Wavelength-selective absorption enhancement in thin-film solar cells," Appl. Phys. Lett. 43, 579-581 (1983).
[CrossRef]

1982 (1)

E. Yablonovich and G. D. Cody, "Intensity Enhancement in Textured Optical Sheets for Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices ED-29, 300-305 (1982).
[CrossRef]

1980 (1)

C. H. Henry, "Limiting efficiencies of ideal single and multiple energy gap terrestrial solar cells," J. Appl. Phys. 51, 4494-4500 (1980).
[CrossRef]

Alamariu, B.

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
[CrossRef]

Bermel, P.

Biswas, R.

D. Zhou and R. Biswas, "Photonic crystal enhanced light-trapping in thin film solar cells," J. App. Phys. 103, 093102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Bloch, A. N.

P. Sheng, A. N. Bloch, and R. S. Stepleman, "Wavelength-selective absorption enhancement in thin-film solar cells," Appl. Phys. Lett. 43, 579-581 (1983).
[CrossRef]

Chutinan, A.

A. Chutinan and S. John, "Light trapping and absorption optimization in certain thin-film photonic crystal architectures," Phys. Rev. A 78, 023825 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Cody, G. D.

E. Yablonovich and G. D. Cody, "Intensity Enhancement in Textured Optical Sheets for Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices ED-29, 300-305 (1982).
[CrossRef]

Culshaw, I. S.

D. M. Whittaker and I. S. Culshaw, "Scattering-matrix treatment of patterned multilayer photonic structures," Phys. Rev. B 60, 2610-2618 (1999).
[CrossRef]

Duan, X.

N. Feng, J. Michel, L. Zeng, J. Liu, C.-Y. Hong, L. C. Kimerling, and X. Duan, "Design of Highly Efficient Light-Trapping Structures for Thin-Film Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 54, 1926-1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
[CrossRef]

Feng, N.

N. Feng, J. Michel, L. Zeng, J. Liu, C.-Y. Hong, L. C. Kimerling, and X. Duan, "Design of Highly Efficient Light-Trapping Structures for Thin-Film Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 54, 1926-1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
[CrossRef]

Henry, C. H.

C. H. Henry, "Limiting efficiencies of ideal single and multiple energy gap terrestrial solar cells," J. Appl. Phys. 51, 4494-4500 (1980).
[CrossRef]

Herzinger, C. M.

C. M. Herzinger, B. Johs, W. A. McGahan, J. A. Woollam, and W. Paulson, "Ellipsometric determination of optical constants for silicon and thermally grown silicon dioxide via a multi-sample, multi-wavelength, multi-angle investigation," J. Appl. Phys. 83, 3323-3336 (1998).
[CrossRef]

Holdermann, K. T.

K. A. Münzer, K. T. Holdermann, R. E. Schlosser, and S. Sterk, "Thin Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 46, 2055-2061 (1999).
[CrossRef]

Hong, C.-Y.

N. Feng, J. Michel, L. Zeng, J. Liu, C.-Y. Hong, L. C. Kimerling, and X. Duan, "Design of Highly Efficient Light-Trapping Structures for Thin-Film Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 54, 1926-1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
[CrossRef]

Joannopoulos, J. D.

John, S.

A. Chutinan and S. John, "Light trapping and absorption optimization in certain thin-film photonic crystal architectures," Phys. Rev. A 78, 023825 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Johs, B.

C. M. Herzinger, B. Johs, W. A. McGahan, J. A. Woollam, and W. Paulson, "Ellipsometric determination of optical constants for silicon and thermally grown silicon dioxide via a multi-sample, multi-wavelength, multi-angle investigation," J. Appl. Phys. 83, 3323-3336 (1998).
[CrossRef]

Kimerling, L. C.

P. Bermel, C. Luo, L. Zeng, L. C. Kimerling, and J. D. Joannopoulos, "Improving thin-film crystalline silicon solar cell efficiencies with photonic crystals," Opt. Express 15, 16986-17000 (2007), http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-15-25-16986.
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

N. Feng, J. Michel, L. Zeng, J. Liu, C.-Y. Hong, L. C. Kimerling, and X. Duan, "Design of Highly Efficient Light-Trapping Structures for Thin-Film Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 54, 1926-1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
[CrossRef]

Liu, J.

N. Feng, J. Michel, L. Zeng, J. Liu, C.-Y. Hong, L. C. Kimerling, and X. Duan, "Design of Highly Efficient Light-Trapping Structures for Thin-Film Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 54, 1926-1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
[CrossRef]

Luo, C.

McGahan, W. A.

C. M. Herzinger, B. Johs, W. A. McGahan, J. A. Woollam, and W. Paulson, "Ellipsometric determination of optical constants for silicon and thermally grown silicon dioxide via a multi-sample, multi-wavelength, multi-angle investigation," J. Appl. Phys. 83, 3323-3336 (1998).
[CrossRef]

Michel, J.

N. Feng, J. Michel, L. Zeng, J. Liu, C.-Y. Hong, L. C. Kimerling, and X. Duan, "Design of Highly Efficient Light-Trapping Structures for Thin-Film Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 54, 1926-1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Münzer, K. A.

K. A. Münzer, K. T. Holdermann, R. E. Schlosser, and S. Sterk, "Thin Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 46, 2055-2061 (1999).
[CrossRef]

Paulson, W.

C. M. Herzinger, B. Johs, W. A. McGahan, J. A. Woollam, and W. Paulson, "Ellipsometric determination of optical constants for silicon and thermally grown silicon dioxide via a multi-sample, multi-wavelength, multi-angle investigation," J. Appl. Phys. 83, 3323-3336 (1998).
[CrossRef]

Schlosser, R. E.

K. A. Münzer, K. T. Holdermann, R. E. Schlosser, and S. Sterk, "Thin Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 46, 2055-2061 (1999).
[CrossRef]

Sheng, P.

P. Sheng, A. N. Bloch, and R. S. Stepleman, "Wavelength-selective absorption enhancement in thin-film solar cells," Appl. Phys. Lett. 43, 579-581 (1983).
[CrossRef]

Stepleman, R. S.

P. Sheng, A. N. Bloch, and R. S. Stepleman, "Wavelength-selective absorption enhancement in thin-film solar cells," Appl. Phys. Lett. 43, 579-581 (1983).
[CrossRef]

Sterk, S.

K. A. Münzer, K. T. Holdermann, R. E. Schlosser, and S. Sterk, "Thin Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 46, 2055-2061 (1999).
[CrossRef]

Whittaker, D. M.

D. M. Whittaker and I. S. Culshaw, "Scattering-matrix treatment of patterned multilayer photonic structures," Phys. Rev. B 60, 2610-2618 (1999).
[CrossRef]

Woollam, J. A.

C. M. Herzinger, B. Johs, W. A. McGahan, J. A. Woollam, and W. Paulson, "Ellipsometric determination of optical constants for silicon and thermally grown silicon dioxide via a multi-sample, multi-wavelength, multi-angle investigation," J. Appl. Phys. 83, 3323-3336 (1998).
[CrossRef]

Yablonovich, E.

E. Yablonovich and G. D. Cody, "Intensity Enhancement in Textured Optical Sheets for Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices ED-29, 300-305 (1982).
[CrossRef]

Yi, Y.

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
[CrossRef]

Zeng, L.

N. Feng, J. Michel, L. Zeng, J. Liu, C.-Y. Hong, L. C. Kimerling, and X. Duan, "Design of Highly Efficient Light-Trapping Structures for Thin-Film Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 54, 1926-1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

P. Bermel, C. Luo, L. Zeng, L. C. Kimerling, and J. D. Joannopoulos, "Improving thin-film crystalline silicon solar cell efficiencies with photonic crystals," Opt. Express 15, 16986-17000 (2007), http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-15-25-16986.
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
[CrossRef]

Zhou, D.

D. Zhou and R. Biswas, "Photonic crystal enhanced light-trapping in thin film solar cells," J. App. Phys. 103, 093102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Appl. Phys. Lett. (2)

P. Sheng, A. N. Bloch, and R. S. Stepleman, "Wavelength-selective absorption enhancement in thin-film solar cells," Appl. Phys. Lett. 43, 579-581 (1983).
[CrossRef]

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C.-Y. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. Alamariu, "Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector," Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 111111 (2006)
[CrossRef]

IEEE Trans. Electron Devices (3)

K. A. Münzer, K. T. Holdermann, R. E. Schlosser, and S. Sterk, "Thin Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 46, 2055-2061 (1999).
[CrossRef]

E. Yablonovich and G. D. Cody, "Intensity Enhancement in Textured Optical Sheets for Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices ED-29, 300-305 (1982).
[CrossRef]

N. Feng, J. Michel, L. Zeng, J. Liu, C.-Y. Hong, L. C. Kimerling, and X. Duan, "Design of Highly Efficient Light-Trapping Structures for Thin-Film Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 54, 1926-1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

J. App. Phys. (1)

D. Zhou and R. Biswas, "Photonic crystal enhanced light-trapping in thin film solar cells," J. App. Phys. 103, 093102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

J. Appl. Phys. (2)

C. M. Herzinger, B. Johs, W. A. McGahan, J. A. Woollam, and W. Paulson, "Ellipsometric determination of optical constants for silicon and thermally grown silicon dioxide via a multi-sample, multi-wavelength, multi-angle investigation," J. Appl. Phys. 83, 3323-3336 (1998).
[CrossRef]

C. H. Henry, "Limiting efficiencies of ideal single and multiple energy gap terrestrial solar cells," J. Appl. Phys. 51, 4494-4500 (1980).
[CrossRef]

Opt. Express (1)

Phys. Rev. A (1)

A. Chutinan and S. John, "Light trapping and absorption optimization in certain thin-film photonic crystal architectures," Phys. Rev. A 78, 023825 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Phys. Rev. B (1)

D. M. Whittaker and I. S. Culshaw, "Scattering-matrix treatment of patterned multilayer photonic structures," Phys. Rev. B 60, 2610-2618 (1999).
[CrossRef]

Other (2)

ASTMG173-03, Standard Tables for Reference Solar Spectral Irradiances: Direct Normal and Hemispherical on 37 degree Tilted Surface (ASTM International, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, 2005).
[PubMed]

J. M.  Gee, "Optically enhanced absorption in thin silicon layers using photonic crystals," in Proceedings of 29th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, New Orleans, LA, 2002), pp. 150-153.

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Figures (4)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Schematic for conventional solar cell architecture consisting of an anti-reflective coating, a uniform c-Si layer, a back scatterer (a rectangular/triangular shape grating is shown in (a)/(b)), and a back reflector. The back reflector is assumed to be a perfect mirror.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

(a). Schematic for a 2D PC structure with a square lattice of square dielectric rods in an air background and (b) the corresponding band diagram. The black and green arrows indicate the spectral region above and below the photonic band gap, respectively.

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Schematic for photonic crystal solar cells showing (a) the entire structure and (b) the front coupler region.

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Absorption spectra for the PC and conventional solar cells; silicon thickness of 2 μm.

Tables (1)

Tables Icon

Table 1. Comparison of the energy conversion efficiency of solar cells with the conventional design and the photonic crystal design for two different cell thicknesses. The short circuit current is indicated in the parenthesis. In all cases shown, the open circuit voltage Voc ~0.80V and the fill factor FF~0.86.

Equations (2)

Equations on this page are rendered with MathJax. Learn more.

Jph=0λEg[hcdIA(λ)],
J(V)=Jphe(n2+1)Eg2kT4π2ħ3c2exp(eVEgkT),

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