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Published November 2010 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Ultradense, Deep Subwavelength Nanowire Array Photovoltaics As Engineered Optical Thin Films


A photovoltaic device comprised of an array of 20 nm wide, 32 nm pitch array of silicon nanowires is modeled as an optical material. The nanowire array (NWA) has characteristic device features that are deep in the subwavelength regime for light, which permits a number of simplifying approximations. Using photocurrent measurements as a probe of the absorptance, we show that the NWA optical properties can be accurately modeled with rigorous coupled-wave analysis. The densely structured NWAs behave as homogeneous birefringent materials into the ultraviolet with effective optical properties that are accurately modeled using the dielectric functions of bulk Si and SiO_2, coupled with a physical model for the NWA derived from ellipsometry and transmission electron microscopy.

Additional Information

© 2010 American Chemical Society. Received for review: 06/22/2010. Published on Web: 10/08/2010. This work was funded by the Department of Energy (DE-FG02-04ER46175). D.T. gratefully acknowledges support by the KAUST Scholar Award. Minority carrier diffusion length measurements were made at the Molecular Materials Research Center of the Beckman Institute, while FIB lift-out and TEM imaging were performed in the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, both at the California Institute of Technology.

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