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Published November 9, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

How much can guided modes enhance absorption in thin solar cells?


Absorption enhancement in thin metal-backed solar cells caused by dipole scatterers embedded in the absorbing layer is studied using a semi-analytical approach. The method accounts for changes in the radiation rate produced by layers above and below the dipole, and treats incoherently the subsequent scattering of light in guided modes from other dipoles. We find large absorption enhancements for strongly coupled dipoles, exceeding the ergodic limit in some configurations involving lossless dipoles. An antireflection-coated 100-nm layer of a- Si:H on Ag absorbs up to 87% of incident above-gap light. Thin layers of both strong and weak absorbers show similar strongly enhanced absorption.

Additional Information

© 2009 Optical Society of America. Received 1 Sep 2009; revised 10 Oct 2009; accepted 11 Oct 2009; published 3 Nov 2009. This work was supported by Harvey Mudd College and the Department of Energy, under contract DE-FG02-07ER46405. We gratefully acknowledge useful discussions with L. A. Sweatlock.

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August 19, 2023
October 19, 2023