Experimental demonstration and modeling of the internal light scattering profile within solar cells due to random dielectric scatterers

Experimental demonstration and modeling of the internal light scattering profile within solar cells due to random dielectric scatterers

Year:2016
Author(s):Joseph Murray and Jeremy N. Munday
Citation(s):J. Appl. Phys. 119, 023104 (2016)

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Abstract: Many photovoltaic technologies are shifting toward thin-film devices to simultaneously reduce costs and improve carrier collection efficiencies; however, the need for nearly complete light absorption within the semiconductor to achieve large short-circuit currents constrains this thickness reduction. Light trapping strategies can be employed to increase absorption in thinner devices. Random scattering coatings offer a simple, cost-effective way to increase solar cell absorption without the drawback of increased surface recombination or reduced bandwidth that occurs when using surface texturing or gratings. However, coatings that show excellent performance as scatterers in free space generally do not enhance device absorption as much as an ideal Lambertian scatterer. Here, we present an experimental technique and theoretical model that accurately describes the absorption improvement that is achievable with coatings based on random ensembles of dielectricscatterers. We find that the ideal Lambertian model substantially overestimates the experimental scattering results, but significant path length enhancements are still achievable. The experimental techniques presented here should enable the testing of various optical models that attempt to surpass the ray optics light trapping limit, which have in many cases been hindered by the experimental difficulty of coupling the incident light into the optical modes of the absorber.