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Energies 2010, 3(4), 784-802; doi:10.3390/en3040784

Efficiently Harvesting Sun Light for Silicon Solar Cells through Advanced Optical Couplers and A Radial p-n Junction Structure

1
Department of Material Science and Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchiu, Taiwan
2
National Nano Device Laboratories, Science-Based Industrial Park, Hsinchu, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 January 2010 / Revised: 8 March 2010 / Accepted: 12 March 2010 / Published: 20 April 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
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Abstract

Silicon-based solar cells (SCs) promise to be an alternative energy source mainly due to: (1) a high efficiency-to-cost ratio, (2) the absence of environmental-degradation issues, and (3) great reliability. Transition from wafer-based to thin-film SC significantly reduces the cost of SCs, including the cost from the material itself and the fabrication process. However, as the thickness of the absorption (or the active) layer decreases, the energy-conversion efficiency drops dramatically. As a consequence, we discuss here three techniques to increase the efficiency of silicon-based SCs: (1) photonic crystal (PC) optical couplers and (2) plasmonic optical couplers to increase efficiency of light absorption in the SCs, and (3) a radial p-n junction structure, decomposing light absorption and diffusion path into two orthogonal directions. The detailed mechanisms and recent research progress regarding these techniques are discussed in this review article.
Keywords: solar energy; silicon solar cells; thin-film solar cells; photovoltaics; photonic crystals; surface plasmon; particles plasmon; plasmonic structure; radial p-n junction; silicon nanowires solar energy; silicon solar cells; thin-film solar cells; photovoltaics; photonic crystals; surface plasmon; particles plasmon; plasmonic structure; radial p-n junction; silicon nanowires
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Lee, H.-C.; Wu, S.-C.; Yang, T.-C.; Yen, T.-J. Efficiently Harvesting Sun Light for Silicon Solar Cells through Advanced Optical Couplers and A Radial p-n Junction Structure. Energies 2010, 3, 784-802.

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