Efficient light trapping and broadband absorption of the solar spectrum in nanopillar arrays decorated with deep-subwavelength sidewall features
Silicon nanopillar (NP) arrays are known to exhibit efficient light trapping and broadband absorption of solar radiation. In this study, we consider the effect of deep subwavelength sidewall scalloping (DSSS) on the broadband absorption of the arrays. Practically, the formation of DSSS is a side effect of top-down dry etching of NP arrays of several microns height. We use finite-difference time-domain electromagnetic calculations to show that the presence of DSSS can result in efficient excitation of optical modes in both the arrays and the underlying substrates. We demonstrate a broadband absorption enhancement of >10% in a DSSS-NP array with an underlying substrate. Finally, we use device calculations to examine the effect of DSSS on the electrical performance of a photovoltaic cell, as the main concern is the degradation of the open-circuit voltage due to surface recombination (DSSS results in higher surface-to-volume ratio). We show that the effect of DSSS on open-circuit voltage is negligible. Finally, deep-subwavelength sidewall features offer a new, interesting photon management strategy towards absorption enhancement.