Is it possible to design a dedicated nanostructure on which all surface features contribute entirely to energy harvesting within a solar cell? This is an important challenge in the light that the efficiency of the solar cell technology utilised has a direct impact on the required land-use and also on reaching grid parity. Here, we take a unique approach and present an analytically derived optimum solution to the problem: a nanoscale metal topography, capable of significantly improving the efficiency of solid state solar cells via excitation of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs). The presented structure is designed to achieve broadband excitation of SPPs through the highest possible density of desired k-vectors at the interface. This leads to high weighted absorption enhancements (>130%) and unprecedented improvements (>30%) of solar cell external quantum efficiencies over the entire harvestable range.
Dominic Zerulla and Éadaoin McClean-Ilten, "Nanoscale tailored plasmonic material for optimum broadband solar harvesting," Proc. SPIE 9921, Plasmonics: Design, Materials, Fabrication, Characterization, and Applications XIV, 99211Z (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: September 01, 2016; Published: 17 September 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2237869.
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