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Photonic Nanostructures Design and Optimization for Solar Cell Application

Department of System Engineering, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2801 S University Ave, Little Rock, AR 72204, USA
Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Missouri, E3422, Lafferre Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Photonics 2015, 2(3), 893-905;
Received: 17 July 2015 / Revised: 21 August 2015 / Accepted: 21 August 2015 / Published: 26 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Plasmonics and Metamaterials)
PDF [2739 KB, uploaded 26 August 2015]


In this paper, a semiconducting photonic nanostructure capable of wide range absorption and tunable optical resonance has been designed with a proposed theoretical optimization model. The design consists of ZnO/CdS core-shell nanowire arrays as well as multilayer thin films that act to absorb incident electromagnetic (EM) waves over a broad frequency range. Theoretical, as well as numerical, studies of the nanostructure inside a solar cell plate have been conducted in order to validate the proposed microstructural design. Excellent energy absorption rates of EM waves have been achieved in the high frequency range by using the optical resonance of the nanowire array. By combining multilayer thin film with the core-shell nanowire in the unit cell of a photonic solar cell, a broadband high absorption has been achieved. Moreover, the geometry of the proposed photonic nanostructure is obtained through the implementation of a genetic algorithm. This avoids local minima and an optimized absorption rate of ~90% over the frequency range of 300 to 750 THz has been obtained in the solar cell. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar cell; photonic nanostructures; optical resonance; genetic algorithm; structural optimization solar cell; photonic nanostructures; optical resonance; genetic algorithm; structural optimization

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Liu, Q.; Sandgren, E.; Barnhart, M.; Zhu, R.; Huang, G. Photonic Nanostructures Design and Optimization for Solar Cell Application. Photonics 2015, 2, 893-905.

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