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Energy Express

Energy Express

  • Editor: Christian Seassal
  • Vol. 22, Iss. S1 — Jan. 13, 2014
  • pp: A1–A12

Synergistic plasmonic and photonic crystal light-trapping: Architectures for optical up-conversion in thin-film solar cells

Khai Q. Le and Sajeev John  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 22, Issue S1, pp. A1-A12 (2014)

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We demonstrate, numerically, that with a 60 nanometer layer of optical up-conversion material, embedded with plasmonic core-shell nano-rings and placed below a sub-micron silicon conical-pore photonic crystal it is possible to absorb sunlight well above the Lambertian limit in the 300-1100 nm range. With as little as 500 nm, equivalent bulk thickness of silicon, the maximum achievable photo-current density (MAPD) is about 36 mA/cm2, using above-bandgap sunlight. This MAPD increases to about 38 mA/cm2 for one micron of silicon. Our architecture also provides solar intensity enhancement by a factor of at least 1400 at the sub-bandgap wavelength of 1500 nm, due to plasmonic and photonic crystal resonances, enabling a further boost of photo-current density from up-conversion of sub-bandgap sunlight. With an external solar concentrator, providing 100 suns, light intensities sufficient for significant nonlinear up-conversion can be realized. Two-photon absorption of sub-bandgap sunlight is further enhanced by the large electromagnetic density of states in the photonic crystal at the re-emission wavelength near 750 nm. It is suggested that this synergy of plasmonic and photonic crystal resonances can lead to unprecedented power conversion efficiency in ultra-thin-film silicon solar cells.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(040.5350) Detectors : Photovoltaic
(240.6680) Optics at surfaces : Surface plasmons
(350.6050) Other areas of optics : Solar energy
(350.4238) Other areas of optics : Nanophotonics and photonic crystals
(250.5403) Optoelectronics : Plasmonics

ToC Category:
Light Trapping for Photovoltaics

Original Manuscript: September 9, 2013
Revised Manuscript: November 3, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: November 4, 2013
Published: November 11, 2013

Khai Q. Le and Sajeev John, "Synergistic plasmonic and photonic crystal light-trapping: Architectures for optical up-conversion in thin-film solar cells," Opt. Express 22, A1-A12 (2014)

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