Optimizing photovoltaic charge generation of nanowire arrays: a simple semi-analytic approach

Björn C. P. Sturmberg*, Kokou B. Dossou, Lindsay C. Botten, Ara A. Asatryan, Christopher G. Poulton, Ross C. McPhedran, C. Martijn De Sterke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Nanowire arrays exhibit efficient light coupling and strong light trapping, making them well suited to solar cell applications. The processes that contribute to their absorption are interrelated and highly dispersive, so the only current method of optimizing the absorption is by intensive numerical calculations. We present an efficient alternative that depends solely on the wavelength-dependent refractive indices of the constituent materials. We choose each array parameter such that the number of modes propagating away from the absorber is minimized, while the number of resonant modes within the absorber is maximized. From this we develop a semi-analytic method that quantitatively identifies the small range of parameters where arrays achieve maximum short-circuit currents. This provides a fast route to optimizing NW array cell efficiencies by greatly reducing the geometries to study with full device models. Our approach is general and applies to a variety of materials and to a large range of array thicknesses. (Graph Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-689
Number of pages7
JournalACS Photonics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • diffraction gratings
  • light trapping
  • nanophotonics
  • nanowire arrays
  • photovoltaics
  • solar energy

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