Abstract

Crystalline silicon is an attractive photovoltaic material because of its natural abundance, accumulated materials and process knowledge, and its appropriate band gap. To reduce cost, thin films of crystalline silicon can be used. This reduces the amount of material needed and allows material with shorter carrier diffusion lengths to be used. However, the indirect band gap of silicon requires that a light trapping approach be used to maximize optical absorption. Here, a photonic crystal (PC) based approach is used to maximize solar light harvesting in a 400 nm-thick silicon layer by tuning the coupling strength of incident radiation to quasiguided modes over a broad spectral range. The structure consists of a double layer PC with the upper layer having holes which have a smaller radius compared to the holes in the lower layer. We show that the spectrally averaged fraction of photons absorbed is increased 8-fold compared to a planar cell with equivalent volume of active material. This results in an enhancement of maximum achievable photocurrent density from 7.1 mA/cm2 for an unstructured film to 21.8 mA/cm2 for a film structured as the double layer photonic crystal. This photocurrent density value approaches the limit of 26.5 mA/cm2, obtained using the Yablonovitch light trapping limit for the same volume of active material.

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2009 (3)

2008 (5)

L. Danos, G. Jones, R. Greef, and T. Markvart, “Ultra-thin silicon solar cell: Modelling and Characterisation,” Phys. Status Solidi 5(5), 1407–1410 (2008).
[CrossRef]

J. Yoon, A. J. Baca, S. I. Park, P. Elvikis, J. B. Geddes, L. Li, R. H. Kim, J. Xiao, S. Wang, T. H. Kim, M. J. Motala, B. Y. Ahn, E. B. Duoss, J. A. Lewis, R. G. Nuzzo, P. M. Ferreira, Y. Huang, A. Rockett, and J. A. Rogers, “Ultrathin silicon solar microcells for semitransparent, mechanically flexible and microconcentrator module designs,” Nat. Mater. 7(11), 907–915 (2008).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

D. Zhou and R. Biswas, “Photonic crystal enhanced light-trapping in thin film solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys. 103(9), 093102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

P. G. O'Brien, N. P. Kherani, A. Chutinan, G. A. Ozin, S. John, and S. Zukotynski, “Silicon photovoltaics using conducting photonic crystal back-reflectors,” Adv. Mater. 20(8), 1577–1582 (2008).
[CrossRef]

J. G. Mutitu, S. Shi, C. Chen, T. Creazzo, A. Barnett, C. Honsberg, and D. W. Prather, “Thin film solar cell design based on photonic crystal and diffractive grating structures,” Opt. Express 16(19), 15238–15248 (2008).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2007 (4)

P. G. O'Brien, N. P. Kherani, S. Zukotynski, G. A. Ozin, E. Vekris, N. Tetreault, A. Chutinan, S. John, A. Mihi, and H. Miguez, “Enhanced photoconductivity in thin-film semiconductors optically coupled to photonic crystals,” Adv. Mater. 19(23), 4177–4182 (2007).
[CrossRef]

J. H. Jiang, P. C. Deguzman, and G. P. Nordin, “Analysis of stacked rotated gratings,” Appl. Opt. 46(8), 1177–1183 (2007).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

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(25), 16986–17000 (2007).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

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. Dev. 54(8), 1926–1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

2006 (2)

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. A. Alamariu, “Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 89(11), 111111 (2006).
[CrossRef]

S. Pillai, K. Catchpole, T. Trupke, G. Zhang, J. Zhao, and M. A. Green, “Enhanced emission from Si-based light emitting diodes using surface plasmons,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 88(16), 161102 (2006).
[CrossRef]

2005 (4)

D. M. Schaadt, B. Feng, and E. T. Yu, “Enhanced semiconductor optical absorption via surface plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86(6), 063106 (2005).
[CrossRef]

C. L. Huisman, J. Schoonman, and A. Goossens, “The application of inverse titania opals in nanostructured solar cells,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 85, 115–124 (2005).

A. Mihi and H. Míguez, “Origin of light-harvesting enhancement in colloidal-photonic-crystal-based dye-sensitized solar cells,” J. Phys. Chem. B 109(33), 15968–15976 (2005).
[CrossRef]

F. Llopis and I. Tobias, “The role of rear surface in thin silicon solar cells,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 87(1-4), 481–492 (2005).
[CrossRef]

2003 (1)

S. Nishimura, N. Abrams, B. A. Lewis, L. I. Halaoui, T. E. Mallouk, K. D. Benkstein, J. van de Lagemaat, and A. J. Frank, “Standing wave enhancement of red absorbance and photocurrent in dye-sensitized titanium dioxide photoelectrodes coupled to photonic crystals,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125(20), 6306–6310 (2003).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2002 (1)

S. G. Tikhodeev, A. L. Yablonskii, E. A. Muljarov, N. A. Gippius, and T. Ishihara, “Quasiguided modes and optical properties of photonic crystal slabs,” Phys. Rev. B 66(4), 045102 (2002).
[CrossRef]

2001 (1)

R. Bergmann, T. Rinke, T. Wagner, and J. Werner, “Thin film solar cells on glass based on the transfer of monocrystalline Si films,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 65(1-4), 355–361 (2001).
[CrossRef]

2000 (2)

A. G. Aberle, “Surface passivation of crystalline silicon solar cells: a review,” Prog. Photovoltaics 8(5), 473–487 (2000).
[CrossRef]

P. Lalanne and E. Silberstein, “Fourier-modal methods applied to waveguide computational problems,” Opt. Lett. 25(15), 1092–1094 (2000).
[CrossRef]

1999 (1)

1997 (2)

L. Li, “New formulation of the Fourier modal method for crossed surface-relief gratings,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 14(10), 2758–2767 (1997).
[CrossRef]

K. Yamamoto, T. Suzuki, M. Yoshimi, and A. Nakaijima, “Optical Confinement effect for below 5 µm Thin Film Poly-Si Solar Cell on Glass Substrate,” Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 36(Part 2, No. 5A), L569–L572 (1997).
[CrossRef]

1995 (3)

1990 (1)

M. Gale, B. Curtis, H. Kiess, and R. H. Morf, “Design and fabrication of submicron grating structures for light trapping in silicon solar cells,” Proc. SPIE 1272, 60–66 (1990).
[CrossRef]

1986 (1)

R. M. Swanson, “Point-contact solar cells - Modeling and experiment,” Sol. Cells 17(1), 85–118 (1986).
[CrossRef]

1984 (2)

M. A. Green, “Limits on the open-circuit voltage and efficiency of Silicon solar cells imposed by intrinsic Auger processes,” IEEE Trans. Electron. Dev. 31(5), 671–678 (1984).
[CrossRef]

T. Tiedje, E. Yablonovitch, G. D. Cody, and B. G. Brooks, “Limiting Efficiency of Silicon Solar Cells,” IEEE Trans. Electron. Dev. 31(5), 711–716 (1984).
[CrossRef]

1983 (1)

1982 (2)

E. Yablonovitch, “Statistical Ray Optics,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 72(7), 899–907 (1982).
[CrossRef]

E. Yablonovitch and G. D. Cody, “Intensity Enhancement in Textured Optical Sheets for Solar Cells,” IEEE Trans. Electron. Dev. 29(2), 300–305 (1982).
[CrossRef]

Aberle, A. G.

A. G. Aberle, “Surface passivation of crystalline silicon solar cells: a review,” Prog. Photovoltaics 8(5), 473–487 (2000).
[CrossRef]

Abrams, N.

S. Nishimura, N. Abrams, B. A. Lewis, L. I. Halaoui, T. E. Mallouk, K. D. Benkstein, J. van de Lagemaat, and A. J. Frank, “Standing wave enhancement of red absorbance and photocurrent in dye-sensitized titanium dioxide photoelectrodes coupled to photonic crystals,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125(20), 6306–6310 (2003).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Ahn, B. Y.

J. Yoon, A. J. Baca, S. I. Park, P. Elvikis, J. B. Geddes, L. Li, R. H. Kim, J. Xiao, S. Wang, T. H. Kim, M. J. Motala, B. Y. Ahn, E. B. Duoss, J. A. Lewis, R. G. Nuzzo, P. M. Ferreira, Y. Huang, A. Rockett, and J. A. Rogers, “Ultrathin silicon solar microcells for semitransparent, mechanically flexible and microconcentrator module designs,” Nat. Mater. 7(11), 907–915 (2008).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Alamariu, B. A.

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. A. Alamariu, “Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 89(11), 111111 (2006).
[CrossRef]

Atwater, H. A.

Baca, A. J.

J. Yoon, A. J. Baca, S. I. Park, P. Elvikis, J. B. Geddes, L. Li, R. H. Kim, J. Xiao, S. Wang, T. H. Kim, M. J. Motala, B. Y. Ahn, E. B. Duoss, J. A. Lewis, R. G. Nuzzo, P. M. Ferreira, Y. Huang, A. Rockett, and J. A. Rogers, “Ultrathin silicon solar microcells for semitransparent, mechanically flexible and microconcentrator module designs,” Nat. Mater. 7(11), 907–915 (2008).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Barnett, A.

Benkstein, K. D.

S. Nishimura, N. Abrams, B. A. Lewis, L. I. Halaoui, T. E. Mallouk, K. D. Benkstein, J. van de Lagemaat, and A. J. Frank, “Standing wave enhancement of red absorbance and photocurrent in dye-sensitized titanium dioxide photoelectrodes coupled to photonic crystals,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125(20), 6306–6310 (2003).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Bergmann, R.

R. Bergmann, T. Rinke, T. Wagner, and J. Werner, “Thin film solar cells on glass based on the transfer of monocrystalline Si films,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 65(1-4), 355–361 (2001).
[CrossRef]

Bermel, P.

Biswas, R.

D. Zhou and R. Biswas, “Photonic crystal enhanced light-trapping in thin film solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys. 103(9), 093102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Brooks, B. G.

T. Tiedje, E. Yablonovitch, G. D. Cody, and B. G. Brooks, “Limiting Efficiency of Silicon Solar Cells,” IEEE Trans. Electron. Dev. 31(5), 711–716 (1984).
[CrossRef]

Catchpole, K.

S. Pillai, K. Catchpole, T. Trupke, G. Zhang, J. Zhao, and M. A. Green, “Enhanced emission from Si-based light emitting diodes using surface plasmons,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 88(16), 161102 (2006).
[CrossRef]

Chambers, D. M.

Chen, C.

Chutinan, A.

A. Chutinan, N. P. Kherani, and S. Zukotynski, “High-efficiency photonic crystal solar cell architecture,” Opt. Express 17(11), 8871–8878 (2009).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

P. G. O'Brien, N. P. Kherani, A. Chutinan, G. A. Ozin, S. John, and S. Zukotynski, “Silicon photovoltaics using conducting photonic crystal back-reflectors,” Adv. Mater. 20(8), 1577–1582 (2008).
[CrossRef]

P. G. O'Brien, N. P. Kherani, S. Zukotynski, G. A. Ozin, E. Vekris, N. Tetreault, A. Chutinan, S. John, A. Mihi, and H. Miguez, “Enhanced photoconductivity in thin-film semiconductors optically coupled to photonic crystals,” Adv. Mater. 19(23), 4177–4182 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Cody, G. D.

T. Tiedje, E. Yablonovitch, G. D. Cody, and B. G. Brooks, “Limiting Efficiency of Silicon Solar Cells,” IEEE Trans. Electron. Dev. 31(5), 711–716 (1984).
[CrossRef]

E. Yablonovitch and G. D. Cody, “Intensity Enhancement in Textured Optical Sheets for Solar Cells,” IEEE Trans. Electron. Dev. 29(2), 300–305 (1982).
[CrossRef]

Creazzo, T.

Curtis, B.

M. Gale, B. Curtis, H. Kiess, and R. H. Morf, “Design and fabrication of submicron grating structures for light trapping in silicon solar cells,” Proc. SPIE 1272, 60–66 (1990).
[CrossRef]

Danos, L.

L. Danos, G. Jones, R. Greef, and T. Markvart, “Ultra-thin silicon solar cell: Modelling and Characterisation,” Phys. Status Solidi 5(5), 1407–1410 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Deckman, H. W.

Deguzman, P. C.

Drouard, E.

Duan, X.

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. Dev. 54(8), 1926–1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. A. Alamariu, “Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 89(11), 111111 (2006).
[CrossRef]

Duoss, E. B.

J. Yoon, A. J. Baca, S. I. Park, P. Elvikis, J. B. Geddes, L. Li, R. H. Kim, J. Xiao, S. Wang, T. H. Kim, M. J. Motala, B. Y. Ahn, E. B. Duoss, J. A. Lewis, R. G. Nuzzo, P. M. Ferreira, Y. Huang, A. Rockett, and J. A. Rogers, “Ultrathin silicon solar microcells for semitransparent, mechanically flexible and microconcentrator module designs,” Nat. Mater. 7(11), 907–915 (2008).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

El Daif, O.

Elvikis, P.

J. Yoon, A. J. Baca, S. I. Park, P. Elvikis, J. B. Geddes, L. Li, R. H. Kim, J. Xiao, S. Wang, T. H. Kim, M. J. Motala, B. Y. Ahn, E. B. Duoss, J. A. Lewis, R. G. Nuzzo, P. M. Ferreira, Y. Huang, A. Rockett, and J. A. Rogers, “Ultrathin silicon solar microcells for semitransparent, mechanically flexible and microconcentrator module designs,” Nat. Mater. 7(11), 907–915 (2008).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Fave, A.

Feng, B.

D. M. Schaadt, B. Feng, and E. T. Yu, “Enhanced semiconductor optical absorption via surface plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86(6), 063106 (2005).
[CrossRef]

Feng, N.

L. Zeng, Y. Yi, C. Hong, J. Liu, N. Feng, X. Duan, L. C. Kimerling, and B. A. Alamariu, “Efficiency enhancement in Si solar cells by textured photonic crystal back reflector,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 89(11), 111111 (2006).
[CrossRef]

Feng, N. N.

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. Dev. 54(8), 1926–1933 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Ferreira, P. M.

J. Yoon, A. J. Baca, S. I. Park, P. Elvikis, J. B. Geddes, L. Li, R. H. Kim, J. Xiao, S. Wang, T. H. Kim, M. J. Motala, B. Y. Ahn, E. B. Duoss, J. A. Lewis, R. G. Nuzzo, P. M. Ferreira, Y. Huang, A. Rockett, and J. A. Rogers, “Ultrathin silicon solar microcells for semitransparent, mechanically flexible and microconcentrator module designs,” Nat. Mater. 7(11), 907–915 (2008).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Ferry, V. E.

Frank, A. J.

S. Nishimura, N. Abrams, B. A. Lewis, L. I. Halaoui, T. E. Mallouk, K. D. Benkstein, J. van de Lagemaat, and A. J. Frank, “Standing wave enhancement of red absorbance and photocurrent in dye-sensitized titanium dioxide photoelectrodes coupled to photonic crystals,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125(20), 6306–6310 (2003).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Gale, M.

M. Gale, B. Curtis, H. Kiess, and R. H. Morf, “Design and fabrication of submicron grating structures for light trapping in silicon solar cells,” Proc. SPIE 1272, 60–66 (1990).
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Figures (15)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Schematic of optimized structure

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Simulated fraction of photons absorbed under normal incidence as a function of the number of harmonics used. The periodicity of the 2D c-Si PC was 600 nm, and the ratio d/p for the upper and lower layer was 0.9 and 0.65, respectively. Insets: Enlarged portion of the spectrum (indicated by black dashed box) and schematic of the simulated structure.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

MAPD as a function of period for inverted pyramidal structures. The d/p ratios of the upper and lower PC layer were optimized for maximum MAPD for each period.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

MAPD under normal incidence as a function of d/p ratios of the upper and lower PC layers for a period of 600 nm. (The colorbar has units ofA/cm2)

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Enhancement in MAPD under normal incidence of a structured layer compared to a solid slab with the same active layer volume as the structured layer, as a function of d/p ratios of the upper and lower PC layers.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

MAPD as a function of relative thicknesses of the two layers

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

Change in spectrum as the backside is coated with silver

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

Optical absorbance as a function of wavelength for an equivalent volume cell with flat interfaces (green), a 400 nm-thickness flat cell (cyan) and the optimized structure (blue). The extrapolated geometric light trapping limit (red) is also shown for reference.

Fig. 9
Fig. 9

Enhancement in absorbance over a planar structure of 221.6 nm-thickness for the optimized three-layer structure (green) compared to the extrapolated geometric light-trapping limit (red). Also shown, enhancement in absorbance over a planar structure of 400 nm-thickness for the optimized three-layer structure (cyan).

Fig. 10
Fig. 10

(a) Hemispherically averaged absorption is shown as a function of wavelength for s and p incident polarizations. Angular variations in spectrally averaged absorbance in a flat cell are also plotted. (b) Enhancement in absorption for s and p polarizations for a patterned cell over that of an unpatterned cell

Fig. 11
Fig. 11

Absorption averaged over azimuthal angles is shown as a function of wavelength and polar angles for a) s and b) p incident polarizations.

Fig. 12
Fig. 12

Optical absorption of an optimized PC cell and corresponding dispersion of its quasiguided modes.

Fig. 13
Fig. 13

(a)Phase of reflection from structure where absorption is set to zero and corresponding absorption in the wavelength range 488 −497 nm (b) Matched modes (black dots) in band structure for 488-497 nm .(c)Phase of reflection and corresponding absorption in the wavelength range 620-637 nm (b) Matched modes (black dots) in band structure for 620-637 nm. (In Figs. 13(b) and 13(d) green lines correspond to s polarization and red lines to p polarization.)

Fig. 14
Fig. 14

Electric field intensity in the vertical cross-section corresponding to a y-coordinate of 150 nm plane at the wavelengths.(a) 918 nm (b) 826 nm

Fig. 15
Fig. 15

Electric field intensity in the XY plane at the center of (a) the oxide layer at a wavelength of 918 nm and (b) 826 nm, (c) the upper PC layer at a wavelength of 918 nm and (d) 826 nm, and (e) lower PC layer at a wavelength of 918 nm and (f) 826 nm.

Equations (3)

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M A P D = 0 d λ [ e λ h c d I d λ α ( λ ) ]
F y = ( 1 e 2 a l ) . T 1 e 2 a l + n 2 2 n 1 2 . T . e 2 a l .100
k = ( 2 m π p ) 2 + ( 2 n π p ) 2

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