Fundamental limit of nanophotonic light trapping in solar cells

Zongfu Yu, Aaswath Raman, Shanhui Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

755 Scopus citations

Abstract

Establishing the fundamental limit of nanophotonic light-trapping schemes is of paramount importance and is becoming increasingly urgent for current solar cell research. The standard theory of light trapping demonstrated that absorption enhancement in a medium cannot exceed a factor of 4n2 / sin2 θ, where n is the refractive index of the active layer, and θ is the angle of the emission cone in the medium surrounding the cell. This theory, however, is not applicable in the nanophotonic regime. Here we develop a statistical temporal coupled-mode theory of light trapping based on a rigorous electromagnetic approach. Our theory reveals that the conventional limit can be substantially surpassed when optical modes exhibit deep-subwavelength-scale field confinement, opening new avenues for highly efficient next-generation solar cells.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17491-17496
Number of pages6
JournalPROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Volume107
Issue number41
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-09-16
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUSC1-015-21
Acknowledgements: The authors thank Eden Rephaeli for providing the simulation code and acknowledge discussions with Jia Zhu, Yi Cui, Peter Peumans, Martin Green, and Eli Yablonovitch. This publication was based on work supported by the Center for Advanced Molecular Photovoltaics (Award KUSC1-015-21), made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and by Department of Energy Grant DE-FG02-07ER46426.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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