Efficient light management in vertical nanowire arrays for photovoltaics

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Abstract

Vertical arrays of direct band gap III-V semiconductor nanowires (NWs) hold the prospect of cheap and efficient next-generation photovoltaics, and guidelines for successful light-management are needed. Here, we use InP NWs as a model system and find, through electrodynamic modeling, general design principles for efficient absorption of sun light in nanowire arrays by systematically varying the nanowire diameter, the nanowire length, and the array period. Most importantly, we discover the existence of specific band-gap dependent diameters, 170 nm and 410 nm for InP, for which the absorption of sun light in the array is optimal, irrespective of the nanowire length. At these diameters, the individual InP NWs of the array absorb light strongly for photon energies just above the band gap energy due to a diameter-tunable nanophotonic resonance, which shows up also for other semiconductor materials of the NWs. Furthermore, we find that for maximized absorption of sun light, the optimal period of the array increases with nanowire length, since this decreases the insertion reflection losses. (C) 2013 Optical Society of America

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  • Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A558-A575
JournalOptics Express
Volume21
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes