Design of anodic aluminum oxide rear surface plasmonic heterostructures for light trapping in thin silicon solar cells

Yang Li, Scott Dunham, Supriya Pillai, Zi Ouyang, Allen Barnett, Anthony Lochtefeld, Alison Lennon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A metal-dielectric heterostructure that provides the combined capability of light trapping and surface passivation is reported. The light-trapping layer employs a porous aluminum anodic oxide (AAO) with metal nanoparticles formed in the pores on the rear surface of a thin crystalline silicon solar cell. Numerical finite-difference time domain (FDTD) simulations were performed to determine the pore diameter and spacing that would result in optimal light trapping for this metal-dielectric heterostructure. For a 2.5-μm-thick crystalline silicon device, the optimal pore diameter and spacing were determined to be ∼250 and ∼450 nm, respectively. These conditions resulted in an enhancement of the simulated photocurrent by ∼12.6% compared with a device in which the heterostructure was replaced with a homogenous aluminum oxide layer. Simulations also confirmed that the thickness of an underlying dielectric layer should be minimized to 10-20 nm, with the AAO barrier layer being maintained as thin as possible. Finally, it was shown that replacement of silver by aluminum in the pores resulted in a reduction in the photocurrent of 6.3% and would necessitate much larger pore spacing that is difficult to achieve experimentally and would result in thicker AAO barrier layers, which are undesirable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1212-1219
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Volume4
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

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