Semiconductor nanowire array for transparent photovoltaic applications

Yang Chen, Lukas Hrachowina, Enrique Barrigon, Jason P. Beech, David Alcer, Roman Lyttleton, Reza Jafari Jam, Lars Samuelson, Heiner Linke, Magnus Borgström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The surface area of a building that could potentially be used for Building Integrated Photovoltaics would increase dramatically with the availability of transparent solar cells that could replace windows. The challenge is to capture energy from outside the visible region (UV or IR) while simultaneously allowing a high-quality observation of the outside world and transmitting sufficient light in the visible region to satisfactorily illuminate the interior of the building. In this paper, we show both computationally and experimentally that InP nanowire arrays can have good transparency in the visible region and high absorption in the near-infrared region. We show experimentally that we can achieve mean transparencies in the visible region of 65% and the radiative limit of more than 10% based on measured absorption and calculated emission. Our results demonstrate that nanowire arrays hold promise as a method to achieve transparent solar cells, which would fulfill the requirements to function as windows. In addition, we show that by optical design and by designing the geometry of nanowire arrays, solar cells can be achieved that absorb/transmit at wavelengths that are not decided by the bandgap of the material and that can be tailored to specific requirements such as colorful windows.

Original languageEnglish
Article number191107
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 10

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge financial support from the NanoLund Seedling Project, the Swedish Research Council (project Rambidrag), the Swedish Energy Agency, and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (Project No. KAW 2016.0089). We would like to thank Professor Jos Haverkort and his students Ilya Kolpakov and Emanuele Bochicchio for their effort in the testing of top-down nanowires.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Author(s).

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Nano Technology


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