Multijunction solar cells provide a path to overcome the efficiency limits of standard silicon solar cells by harvesting a broader range of the solar spectrum more efficiently. However, Si-based multijunction architectures are hindered by incomplete harvesting in the near-infrared (near-IR) spectral range as Si subcells have weak absorption close to the band gap. Here, we introduce an integrated near-field/far-field light trapping scheme to enhance the efficiency of silicon-based multijunction solar cells in the near-IR range. To achieve this, we design a nanopatterned diffractive silver back-reflector featuring a scattering matrix that optimizes trapping of multiply scattered light into a range of diffraction angles. We minimize reflection to the zeroth order and parasitic plasmonic absorption in silver by engineering destructive interference in the patterned back-contact. Numerical and experimental assessment of the optimal design on the performance of single-junction Si TOPCon solar cells highlights an improved external quantum efficiency over a planar back-reflector (+1.52 mA/cm2). Nanopatterned metagrating back-reflectors are fabricated on GaInP/GaInAsP//Si two-terminal triple-junction solar cells via substrate conformal imprint lithography and characterized optically and electronically, demonstrating a power conversion efficiency improvement of +0.9%abs over the planar reference. Overall, our work demonstrates the potential of nanophotonic light trapping for enhancing the efficiency of silicon-based multijunction solar cells, paving the way for more efficient and sustainable solar energy technologies.

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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
ACS Photonics
Photonic Materials

Cordaro, A., Müller, R., Tabernig, S., Tucher, N., Schygulla, P., Höhn, O., … Polman, A. (2023). Nanopatterned Back-Reflector with Engineered Near-Field/Far-Field Light Scattering for Enhanced Light Trapping in Silicon-Based Multijunction Solar Cells. ACS Photonics, 10(11), 4061–4070. doi:10.1021/acsphotonics.3c01124