• amorphous silicon;
  • nanospheres;
  • photonic crystal;
  • photovoltaics;
  • resonant dielectric structures;
  • solar cells


Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Resonant dielectric structures are a promising platform for addressing the key challenge of light trapping in thin-film solar cells. We experimentally and theoretically demonstrate efficiency enhancements in solar cells from dielectric nanosphere arrays. Two distinct amorphous silicon photovoltaic architectures were improved using this versatile light-trapping platform. In one structure, the colloidal monolayer couples light into the absorber in the near-field acting as a photonic crystal light-trapping element. In the other, it acts in the far-field as a graded index antireflection coating to further improve a cell which already included a state-of-the-art random light-trapping texture to achieve a conversion efficiency over 11%. For the near-field flat cell architecture, we directly fabricated the colloidal monolayer on the device through Langmuir–Blodgett deposition in a scalable process that does not degrade the active material. In addition, we present a novel transfer printing method, which utilizes chemical crosslinking of an optically thin adhesion layer to tether sphere arrays to the device surface. The minimally invasive processing conditions of this transfer method enable the application to a wide range of solar cells and other optoelectronic devices.

False-color SEM image of an amorphous silicon solar cell with resonant spheres on top.