We present criteria for optimizing the light-trapping efficiency of periodic arrays of metal nanoparticles for Si solar cell applications. The scattering cross section of the nanoparticles and the diffraction efficiency of the grating should be maximized in the long wavelength range. The grating pitch should be chosen to allow higher order diffraction modes for long wavelengths while maintaining the highest possible fill factor. These conditions place strong constraints on the optimal parameters (particle size of ~200 nm and pitch of ~400 nm) for periodic arrays of metal nanoparticles, in contrast to dielectric gratings, where a relatively wide range of periods and feature sizes can be used for efficient light trapping.

Appl. Phys. Lett.
Photonic Materials

Mokkapati, S., Beck, F. J., Polman, A., & Catchpole, K. R. (2009). Designing periodic arrays of metal nanoparticles for light-trapping applications in solar cells. Appl. Phys. Lett., 95(Article number: 53115), 1–3. doi:10.1063/1.3200948