Parasitic absorption in the rear reflector of a silicon solar cell: Simulation and measurement of the sub-bandgap reflectance for common dielectric/metal reflectors
The rear side of a silicon solar cell is often designed to minimize surface recombination, series resistance, and cost, but not necessarily parasitic absorption. We present a comprehensive study of parasitic absorption in the metal layer of solar cells with dielectric/metal rear reflectors. The sub-bandgap reflectance of a solar cell or test structure is proposed as an experimentally accessible probe of parasitic absorption, and it is correlated with short-circuit current density. The influence of surface texture, dielectric refractive index and thickness, and metal refractive index on sub-bandgap reflectance-and thus current is then both calculated and measured. From the results, we formulate design rules that promote optimum infrared response in a wide variety of silicon solar cells. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.