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Transparent Quasi-Random Structures for Multimodal Light Trapping in Ultrathin Solar Cells with Broad Engineering Tolerance.

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Waveguide modes are well-known to be a valuable light-trapping resource for absorption enhancement in solar cells. However, their scarcity in the thinnest device stacks compromises the multiresonant performance required to reach the highest efficiencies in ultrathin devices. We demonstrate that enriching the modal structure on such reduced length-scales is possible by integrating transparent semiconductor/dielectric scattering structures to the device architecture as opposed to more widely studied metallic textures. This phenomenon allows transparent quasi-random structures to emerge as strong light-trapping candidates for ultrathin solar cells, given that their broad scattering profiles are well-suited to exploit the increased number of waveguide modes for multiresonant absorption enhancement. A thorough study of the design space of quasi-random textures comprising more than 1500 designs confirms the superiority of transparent structures over a metallic embodiment, identifies broad and flexible design requirements to achieve optimal performances, and demonstrates photon harvesting capabilities leading to 20% efficiency with an 80 nm GaAs absorber. Our light-trapping strategy can be applied to a wide range of material systems and device architectures, is compatible with scalable low-cost fabrication techniques, and can assist current trends to reach the highest efficiencies in ever-thinner photovoltaics.



light harvesting, ultrathin photovoltaics, correlated disorder, photonic crystal, GaAs

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ACS Photonics

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American Chemical Society (ACS)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L015978/1)
European Research Council (716471)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (853365)