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Issue 23, 2016

Novel back-reflector architecture with nanoparticle based buried light-scattering microstructures for improved solar cell performance

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Abstract

A new back-reflector architecture for light-management in thin-film solar cells is proposed that includes a morphologically smooth top surface with light-scattering microstructures buried within. The microstructures are pyramid shaped, fabricated on a planar reflector using TiO2 nanoparticles and subsequently covered with a layer of Si nanoparticles to obtain a flattened top surface, thus enabling growth of good quality thin-film solar cells. The optical properties of this back-reflector show high broadband haze parameter and wide angular distribution of diffuse light-scattering. The n–i–p amorphous silicon thin-film solar cells grown on such a back-reflector show enhanced light absorption resulting in improved external quantum efficiency. The benefit of the light trapping in those solar cells is evidenced by the gains in short-circuit current density and efficiency up to 15.6% and 19.3% respectively, compared to the reference flat solar cells. This improvement in the current generation in the solar cells grown on the flat-topped (buried pyramid) back-reflector is observed even when the irradiation takes place at large oblique angles of incidence. Finite-difference-time-domain simulation results of optical absorption and ideal short-circuit current density values agree well with the experimental findings. The proposed approach uses a low cost and simple fabrication technique and allows effective light manipulation by utilizing the optical properties of micro-scale structures and nanoscale constituent particles.

Graphical abstract: Novel back-reflector architecture with nanoparticle based buried light-scattering microstructures for improved solar cell performance

Article information


Submitted
11 Jan 2016
Accepted
25 May 2016
First published
26 May 2016

Nanoscale, 2016,8, 12035-12046
Article type
Paper

Novel back-reflector architecture with nanoparticle based buried light-scattering microstructures for improved solar cell performance

D. Desta, S. K. Ram, R. Rizzoli, M. Bellettato, C. Summonte, B. R. Jeppesen, P. B. Jensen, Y. Tsao, H. Wiggers, R. N. Pereira, P. Balling and A. N. Larsen, Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 12035 DOI: 10.1039/C6NR00259E

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