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Light management in ultra-thin solar cells: a guided optimisation approach.

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Camarillo Abad, Eduardo  ORCID logo
Joyce, Hannah J 
Hirst, Louise C 


The success of ever-thinner photovoltaics relies on the introduction of light management strategies to enhance the absorption of incident illumination. Tailoring these strategies to maximise the absorption of light requires optimising the complex interplay between multiple design parameters. We study this interplay with a transfer matrix method and rigorous coupled-wave analysis, within the context of waveguide modes in an ultra-thin (80 nm) GaAs solar cell. Based on this study, we develop a framework for light management optimisation which is guided by the underlying optical phenomena that determine the most favourable design parameters. In contrast to other optimisation approaches which exhaustively simulate multiple parameter combinations looking for the highest integrated absorption, our framework reduces the parameter space for optimisation, furthers our fundamental understanding of light management and is applicable to multiple length-scales and device architectures. We demonstrate the power of our framework by using it to compare the light trapping performance of photonic crystal gratings to that of engineered quasi-random structures, finding that photonic crystal gratings offer a superior performance in our device of interest.



4006 Communications Engineering, 40 Engineering, 4009 Electronics, Sensors and Digital Hardware, Generic health relevance

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Opt Express

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Optica Publishing Group


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L015978/1)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (853365)
European Research Council (716471)
UK Space Agency (Unknown)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L015978/1); H2020 European Research Council (853365); UK Space Agency (PF2-012); European Research Council (716471); Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología; Cambridge Trust.