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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 19, Iss. 21 — Oct. 10, 2011
  • pp: 20159–20171

Exact field solution to guided wave propagation in lossy thin films

James R. Nagel, Steve Blair, and Michael A. Scarpulla  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 19, Issue 21, pp. 20159-20171 (2011)

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Wave guidance is an important aspect of light trapping in thin film photovoltaics making it important to properly model the effects of loss on the field profiles. This paper derives the full-field solution for electromagnetic wave propagation in a symmetric dielectric slab with finite absorption. The functional form of the eigenvalue equation is identical to the lossless case except the propagation constants take on complex values. Additional loss-guidance and anti-guidance modes appear in the lossy model which do not normally exist in the analogous lossless case. An approximate solution for the longitudinal attenuation coefficient αz is derived from geometric optics and shows excellent agreement with the exact value. Lossy mode propagation is then explored in the context of photovoltaics by modeling a thin film solar cell made of amorphous silicon.

© 2011 OSA

OCIS Codes
(310.2790) Thin films : Guided waves
(310.6805) Thin films : Theory and design

ToC Category:
Thin Films

Original Manuscript: July 29, 2011
Revised Manuscript: August 30, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: September 3, 2011
Published: September 29, 2011

James R. Nagel, Steve Blair, and Michael A. Scarpulla, "Exact field solution to guided wave propagation in lossy thin films," Opt. Express 19, 20159-20171 (2011)

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