OSA's Digital Library

Energy Express

Energy Express

  • Editor: Christian Seassal
  • Vol. 22, Iss. S2 — Mar. 10, 2014
  • pp: A311–A319

Optimization and analysis of 3D nanostructures for power-density enhancement in ultra-thin photovoltaics under oblique illumination

Bing Shen, Peng Wang, and Rajesh Menon  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 22, Issue S2, pp. A311-A319 (2014)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (2120 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



Nanostructures have the potential to significantly increase the output power-density of ultra-thin photovoltaic devices by scattering incident sunlight into resonant guided modes. We applied a modified version of the direct-binary-search algorithm to design such nanostructures in order to maximize the output power-density under oblique-illumination conditions. We show that with appropriate design of nanostructured cladding layers, it is possible for a 10nm-thick organic absorber to produce an average peak power-density of 4mW/cm2 with incident polar angle ranging from −90° to 90° and incident azimuthal angle ranging from −23.5° to 23.5°. Using careful modal and spectral analysis, we further show that an optimal trade-off of absorption at λ~510nm among various angles of incidence is essential to excellent performance under oblique illumination. Finally, we show that the optimized device with no sun tracking can produce on an average 7.23 times more energy per year than that produced by a comparable unpatterned device with an optimal anti-reflection coating.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(350.6050) Other areas of optics : Solar energy
(350.4238) Other areas of optics : Nanophotonics and photonic crystals
(310.6628) Thin films : Subwavelength structures, nanostructures

ToC Category:
Light Trapping for Photovoltaics

Original Manuscript: October 14, 2013
Revised Manuscript: January 17, 2014
Manuscript Accepted: February 3, 2014
Published: February 10, 2014

Bing Shen, Peng Wang, and Rajesh Menon, "Optimization and analysis of 3D nanostructures for power-density enhancement in ultra-thin photovoltaics under oblique illumination," Opt. Express 22, A311-A319 (2014)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. H. Hoppe and N. S. Sariciftci, “Organic solar cells: An overview,” J. Mater. Res. 19(07), 1924–1945 (2004). [CrossRef]
  2. C. Min, J. Li, G. Veronis, J. Lee, S. Fan, and P. Peumans, “Enhancement of optical absorption in thin-film organic solar cells through the excitation of plasmonic modes in metallic gratings,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 93(7), 073307 (2008).
  3. M. Kaltenbrunner, M. S. White, E. D. Głowacki, T. Sekitani, T. Someya, N. S. Sariciftci, and S. Bauer, “Ultrathin and lightweight organic solar cells with high flexibility,” Nat Commun 3, 770 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. T. L. Benanti and D. Venkataraman, “Organic solar cells: an overview focusing on active layer morphology,” Photosynth. Res. 87(1), 73–81 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. J. L. Brédas, J. E. Norton, J. Cornil, and V. Coropceanu, “Molecular understanding of organic solar cells: the challenges,” Acc. Chem. Res. 42(11), 1691–1699 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. P. Wang and R. Menon, “Optimization of periodic nanostructures for enhanced light-trapping in ultra-thin photovoltaics,” Opt. Express 21(5), 6274–6285 (2013). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. A. Raman, Z. Yu, and S. Fan, “Dielectric nanostructures for broadband light trapping in organic solar cells,” Opt. Express 19(20), 19015–19026 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. K. X. Wang, Z. Yu, V. Liu, Y. Cui, and S. Fan, “Absorption enhancement in ultrathin crystalline silicon solar cells with antireflection and light-trapping nanocone gratings,” Nano Lett. 11(2), 661–665 (2011). [PubMed]
  9. J. R. Tumbleston, D.-H. Ko, E. T. Samulski, and R. Lopez, “Absorption and quasiguided mode analysis of organic solar cells with photonic crystal photoactive layers,” Opt. Express 17(9), 7670–7681 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. D.-H. Ko, J. R. Tumbleston, L. Zhang, S. Williams, J. M. DeSimone, R. Lopez, and E. T. Samulski, “Photonic crystal geometry for organic solar cells,” Nano Lett. 9(7), 2742–2746 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. N. C. Lindquist, W. A. Luhman, S.-H. Oh, and R. J. Holmes, “Plasmonic nanocavity arrays for enhanced efficiency in organic photovoltaic cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 93(12), 123308 (2008). [CrossRef]
  12. H. Shen, P. Bienstman, and B. Maes, “Plasmonic absorption enhancement in organic solar cells with thin active layers,” J. Appl. Phys. 106(7), 073109 (2009). [CrossRef]
  13. A. E. Ostfeld and D. Pacifici, “Plasmonic concentrators for enhanced light absorption in ultrathin film organic photovoltaics,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 98(11), 113112 (2011). [CrossRef]
  14. S. Sandhu, Z. Yu, and S. Fan, “Detailed balance analysis of nanophotonic solar cells,” Opt. Express 21(1), 1209–1217 (2013). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. P. Wang and R. Menon, “Simulation and optimization of 1-D periodic dielectric nanostructures for light-trapping,” Opt. Express 20(2), 1849–1855 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  16. A. Chutinan and S. John, “Light trapping and absorption optimization in certain thin-film photonic crystal architectures,” Phys. Rev. A 78(2), 023825 (2008). [CrossRef]
  17. A. Lenz, H. Kariis, A. Pohl, P. Persson, and L. Ojamae, “The electronic structures and reflectivity of PEDOT:PSS from density functional theory,” Chem. Phys. 384(1–3), 44–51 (2011). [CrossRef]
  18. M. Leclerc and A. Najari, “Organic thermoelectrics: Green energy from a blue polymer,” Nat. Mater. 10(6), 409–410 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  19. P. Wang and R. Menon, “Optimization of generalized dielectric nanostructures for enhanced light trapping in thin-film photovoltaics via boosting the local density of optical states,” Opt. Express 22(S1), A99–A110 (2014). [CrossRef]
  20. G. Kim, J. A. Domínguez-Caballero, and R. Menon, “Design and analysis of multi-wavelength diffractive optics,” Opt. Express 20(3), 2814–2823 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  21. D. M. Callahan, J. N. Munday, and H. A. Atwater, “Solar cell light trapping beyond the ray optic limit,” Nano Lett. 12(1), 214–218 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  22. Y. Yuan, T. J. Reece, P. Sharma, S. Poddar, S. Ducharme, A. Gruverman, Y. Yang, and J. Huang, “Efficiency enhancement in organic solar cells with ferroelectric polymers,” Nat. Mater. 10(4), 296–302 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monocrystalline_silicon

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3
Fig. 4

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited