Nanosphere lithography for improved absorption in thin crystalline silicon solar cells

Yuanchih Chang, David N. R. Payne, Michael E. Pollard, Supriya Pillai, Darren M. Bagnall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last decade, plasmonic nanoparticle arrays have been extensively studied for their light trapping potential in thin film solar cells. However, the commercial use of such arrays has been limited by complex and expensive fabrication techniques such as e-beam lithography. Nanosphere lithography (NSL) is a promising low-cost alternative for forming regular arrays of nanoscale features. Here, we use finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations to determine the optical enhancement due to nanosphere arrays embedded at the rear of a complete thin film device. Array parameters including the nanosphere pitch and diameter are explored, with the FDTD model itself first validated by comparing simulations of Ag nanodisc arrays with optical measurements of pre-existing e-beam fabricated test structures. These results are used to guide the development of a nanosphere back-reflector for 20 µm thin crystalline silicon cells. The deposition of polystyrene nanosphere monolayers is optimized to provide uniform arrays, which are subsequently incorporated into preliminary, proof of concept device structures. Absorption and photoluminescence measurements clearly demonstrate the potential of nanosphere arrays for improving the optical response of a solar cell using economical and scalable methods.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMicro+Nano Materials, Devices, and Systems
EditorsBenjamin J. Eggleton, Stefano Palomba
Place of PublicationBellingham, WA
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781628418903
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventSPIE Micro+Nano Materials, Devices, and Applications Symposium - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 6 Dec 20159 Dec 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceSPIE Micro+Nano Materials, Devices, and Applications Symposium


  • nanosphere lithography
  • plasmonics
  • light trapping
  • thin silicon

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