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Journal of Photonics for Energy

Optical simulations of microcrystalline silicon solar cells applying plasmonic reflection grating back contacts
Author(s): Ulrich W. Paetzold; Etienne Moulin; Bart E. Pieters; Uwe Rau; Reinhard Carius
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Paper Abstract

Light trapping is a key issue for high efficiency thin-film silicon solar cells. The authors present three-dimensional electromagnetic simulations of an n-i-p substrate-type microcrystalline silicon solar cell applying a plasmonic reflection grating back contact as a novel light-trapping structure. The plasmonic reflection grating back contact consists of half-ellipsoidal silver nanostructures arranged in square lattice at the back contact of thin-film silicon solar cells. Experimental results of prototypes of microcrystalline silicon thin-film solar cells showed significantly enhanced short-circuit current densities in comparison to flat solar cells and, for an optimized period of the plasmonic reflection grating back contact, even a small enhancement of the short-circuit current density in comparison to the reference cells applying the conventional random texture light-trapping structure. The authors demonstrate a very good agreement between the simulated and experimental spectral response data when taking experimental variations into account. This agreement forms an excellent basis for future simulation based optimizations of the light-trapping by plasmonic reflection grating back contacts. Furthermore, from the simulated three-dimensional electromagnetic field distributions detailed absorption profiles were calculated allowing a spatially resolved evaluation of parasitic losses inside the solar cell.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 June 2012
PDF: 10 pages
J. Photon. Energy. 2(1) 027002 doi: 10.1117/1.JPE.2.027002
Published in: Journal of Photonics for Energy Volume 2, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Ulrich W. Paetzold, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (Germany)
Etienne Moulin, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (Germany)
Bart E. Pieters, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (Germany)
Uwe Rau, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (Germany)
Reinhard Carius, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (Germany)

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