Photon Management for Photovoltaics
a1 Stanford University; firstname.lastname@example.org
a2 Stanford University; Nicholas.email@example.com
a3 Applied Materials, Santa Clara, CA; firstname.lastname@example.org
a4 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology; email@example.com
a5 Stanford University; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thin-film photovoltaic technologies have an enormous potential to reduce the cost of solar electricity. However, because thin photoactive layers are used, optical absorption is incomplete unless light-trapping strategies are employed. Since conventional light-trapping approaches based on geometric scattering are less effective in thin-film cells, coherent light-trapping approaches that exploit the wave nature of light are being explored to enhance optical absorption. In this article, we look at the various strategies for coherent light trapping in thin-film solar cells, including photonic crystals, metal nanostructures, and multilayer stacks. The suitability of a particular strategy depends on factors such as configuration of the solar cell, process compatibility, cost, desired angular response, and materials usage. We also discuss the physical limits of light trapping in thin films.