Journal article

Design of periodic nano- and macro-scale textures for high-performance thin-film multi-junction solar cells

Surface textures in thin-film silicon multi-junction solar cells play an important role in gaining the photocurrent of the devices. In this paper, a design of the textures is carried out for the case of amorphous silicon/micro-crystalline silicon (a-Si:H/mu c-Si:H) solar cells, employing advanced modelling to determine the textures for defect-free silicon layer growth and to increase the photocurrent. A model of non-conformal layer growth and a hybrid optical modelling approach are used to perform realistic 3D simulations of the structures. The hybrid optical modelling includes rigorous modelling based on the finite element method and geometrical optics models. This enables us to examine the surface texture scaling from nano- to macro-sized (several tens or hundreds of micrometers) texturisation features. First, selected random and periodic nanotextures are examined with respect to critical positions of defect-region formation in Si layers. We show that despite careful selection of a well-suited semi-ellipsoidal periodic texture for defect-free layer growth, defective regions in Si layers of a-Si: H/mu c-Si: H cell cannot be avoided if the lateral and vertical dimensions of the nano features are optimised only for high gain in photocurrent. Macro features are favourable for defect-free layer growth, but do not render the photocurrent gains as achieved with light-scattering properties of the optimised nanotextures. Simulation results show that from the optical point of view the semi-ellipsoidal periodic nanotextures with lateral features smaller than 0.4 mu m and vertical peak-to-peak heights around or above 0.3 mu m are required to achieve a gain in short-circuit current of the top cell with respect to the state-of-the-art random texture (>16% increase), whereas lateral dimensions around 0.8 mu m and heights around 0.6 mu m lead to a > 6% gain in short-circuit current of the bottom cell.


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