Published the Dec. 16, 2016

Efficient light trapping in ultrathin silicon solar cells

Ultrathin c-Si solar cells have the potential to drastically reduce costs by saving raw material, while maintaining good efficiencies thanks to the excellent quality of monocrystalline silicon. However, efficient light trapping strategies must be implemented to achieve high short-circuit currents.

We report on the fabrication of both planar and patterned ultrathin c-Si solar cells on glass using low temperature (T<275°C), low-cost and scalable techniques. Epitaxial c-Si layers are grown by PECVD at 160°C and transferred on a glass substrate by anodic bonding and mechanical cleavage. A silver back mirror is combined with a front texturation based on an inverted nanopyramid array fabricated by nanoimprint lithography and wet etching.

We demonstrate a short-circuit current density of 25.3 mA/cm² for an equivalent thickness of only 2.75µm. External quantum efficiency (EQE) measurements are in very good agreement with FDTD simulations. We infer an optical path enhancement of 10 in the long wavelength range. A simple propagation model reveals that the low photon escape probability of 25% is the key factor in the light trapping mechanism.

The main limitations of our current technology and the potential efficiencies achievable with contact optimization are discussed.


Ultrathin epitaxial silicon solar cells with inverted nanopyramid arrays for efficient light trapping,
A. Gaucher, A. Cattoni, C. Dupuis, W. Chen, R. Cariou, M. Foldyna, L. Lalouat, E. Drouard, C. Seassal, P. Roca i Cabarrocas & S. Collin
Nano Letters 16, 5358–5364 (2016) / DOI :