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Solar cell efficiency enhancement via light trapping in printable resonant dielectric nanosphere arrays

Authors

  • Jonathan Grandidier,

    Corresponding author
    1. Thomas J. Watson Laboratories of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
    • Phone: +1 626 395 2193, Fax: +1 626 844 9320
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  • Raymond A. Weitekamp,

    1. Thomas J. Watson Laboratories of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
    2. Arnold and Mabel Beckman Laboratories of Chemical Synthesis, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
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  • Michael G. Deceglie,

    1. Thomas J. Watson Laboratories of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
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  • Dennis M. Callahan,

    1. Thomas J. Watson Laboratories of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
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  • Corsin Battaglia,

    1. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Institute of Microengineering (IMT), Photovoltaics and Thin Film Electronics Laboratory, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
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  • Colton R. Bukowsky,

    1. Thomas J. Watson Laboratories of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
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  • Christophe Ballif,

    1. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Institute of Microengineering (IMT), Photovoltaics and Thin Film Electronics Laboratory, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
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  • Robert H. Grubbs,

    1. Arnold and Mabel Beckman Laboratories of Chemical Synthesis, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
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  • Harry A. Atwater

    1. Thomas J. Watson Laboratories of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
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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.

original image

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

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