Si microwire-array solar cells

Morgan C. Putnam, Shannon W. Boettcher, Michael D. Kelzenberg, Daniel B. Turner-Evans, Joshua M. Spurgeon, Emily L. Warren, Ryan M. Briggs, Nathan S. Lewis, Harry A. Atwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Citations (Scopus)


Si microwire-array solar cells with Air Mass 1.5 Global conversion efficiencies of up to 7.9% have been fabricated using an active volume of Si equivalent to a 4 μm thick Si wafer. These solar cells exhibited open-circuit voltages of 500 mV, short-circuit current densities (Jsc) of up to 24 mA cm-2, and fill factors >65% and employed Al 2O3 dielectric particles that scattered light incident in the space between the wires, a Ag back reflector that prevented the escape of incident illumination from the back surface of the solar cell, and an a-SiN x:H passivation/anti-reflection layer. Wire-array solar cells without some or all of these design features were also fabricated to demonstrate the importance of the light-trapping elements in achieving a high Jsc. Scanning photocurrent microscopy images of the microwire-array solar cells revealed that the higher Jsc of the most advanced cell design resulted from an increased absorption of light incident in the space between the wires. Spectral response measurements further revealed that solar cells with light-trapping elements exhibited improved red and infrared response, as compared to solar cells without light-trapping elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1037-1041
Number of pages5
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution

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