Thin-film silicon solar cells applying optically decoupled back reflectors
Thin-film silicon solar cells often apply a metal back reflector (BR) separated from the silicon layers by a thin rear dielectric of thickness around 80 nm or a white paint combined with a thick rear dielectric of several micrometers. In this work, we investigate the optical performance of microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si:H) solar cells applying BRs of various topographies. In contrast to a standard 80 nm-ZnO/Ag BR design, for which the BR nearly strictly follows the texture of the underlying μc-Si:H layers, placing the Ag BR far from the μc-Si:H layers allows for a variation of the BR topography. Irrespective of the investigated BR topographies and also for a conventional white paint BR, long distances (of several micrometers) between the BR and the μc-Si:H layers are found to be detrimental for the light trapping. Optical simulations based on both rigorous and scalar scattering theory have been performed to understand the impact of the diverse BR designs on the optical cell performance.