Fundamental limit of nanophotonic light trapping in solar cells

Zongfu Yu, Aaswath Raman, Shanhui Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

665 Scopus citations

Abstract

Establishing the fundamental limit of nanophotonic light-trapping schemes is of paramount importance and is becoming increasingly urgent for current solar cell research. The standard theory of light trapping demonstrated that absorption enhancement in a medium cannot exceed a factor of 4n2 / sin2 θ, where n is the refractive index of the active layer, and θ is the angle of the emission cone in the medium surrounding the cell. This theory, however, is not applicable in the nanophotonic regime. Here we develop a statistical temporal coupled-mode theory of light trapping based on a rigorous electromagnetic approach. Our theory reveals that the conventional limit can be substantially surpassed when optical modes exhibit deep-subwavelength-scale field confinement, opening new avenues for highly efficient next-generation solar cells.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17491-17496
Number of pages6
JournalPROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Volume107
Issue number41
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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