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Published December 2008 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Plasmonic Nanostructure Design for Efficient Light Coupling into Solar Cells


We demonstrate that subwavelength scatterers can couple sunlight into guided modes in thin film Si and GaAs plasmonic solar cells whose back interface is coated with a corrugated metal film. Using numerical simulations, we find that incoupling of sunlight is remarkably insensitive to incident angle, and that the spectral features of the coupling efficiency originate from several different resonant phenomena. The incoupling cross section can be spectrally tuned and enhanced through modification of the scatterer shape, semiconductor film thickness, and materials choice. We demonstrate that, for example, a single 100 nm wide groove under a 200 nm Si thin film can enhance absorption by a factor of 2.5 over a 10 μm area for the portion of the solar spectrum near the Si band gap. These findings show promise for the design of ultrathin solar cells that exhibit enhanced absorption.

Additional Information

© 2008 American Chemical Society. Received July 25, 2008; Revised Manuscript Received October 29, 2008. Publication Date (Web): November 14, 2008. The authors thank Albert Polman, Kylie Catchpole, and Ewold Verhagen for useful discussions. Support for this work from the Department of Energy under Grant No. DOE DE-FG02-07ER46405 and the Global Climate and Energy Project is gratefully acknowledged. Supporting Information: Description of method for assessing the incoupling ability of these structures and for tracking the dissipation of power that enters the device. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at http://pubs.acs.org.

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Supplemental Material - FERnl08supp.pdf


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