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Plasmonic light trapping in an ultrathin photovoltaic layer with film-coupled metamaterial structures
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A film-coupled metamaterial structure is numerically investigated for enhancing the light absorption in an ultrathin photovoltaic layer of crystalline gallium arsenide
(GaAs). The top subwavelength concave grating and the bottom metallic film could not only effectively trap light with the help of wave interference and magnetic resonance effects excited above the bandgap, but also practically serve as electrical contacts for photon-generated charge collection. The energy absorbed by the active layer is greatly enhanced with the help of the film-coupled metamaterial structure, resulting in significant improvement on the short-circuit current density by three times over a free-standing GaAs layer at the same thickness. The performance of the proposed light trapping structure is demonstrated to be little affected by the grating ridge width considering the geometric tolerance during fabrication. The optical absorption at oblique incidences also shows direction-insensitive behavior, which is highly desired for efficiently converting off-normal sunlight to electricity. The results would facilitate the development of next-generation ultrathin solar cells with lower cost and higher efficiency.
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