Photon management modeling and beyond for photovoltaics

Peter Bermel, Purdue University, Birck Nanotechnology Center

Date of this Version



Improving the performance of photovoltaics is important for increased deployment in a broad range of applications. In this article, it is shown that combining detailed models for full-wave optics with one or more other physics models represents an emerging field of research. In particular, connections are made with geometric optics, electronic transport, and thermal transport. First, structures combining random texturing and periodic gratings offer the promise of higher light-trapping performance for a broad range of thin-film photovoltaic systems. Second, combining full-wave optics with electronic transport creates an opportunity to accurately model the limits of performance for devices approaching the Shockley-Queisser limit. Finally, combining optical with thermal modeling creates the potential for a physics-based understanding of intrinsic photovoltaic module failures, necessary to ensure a long life for photovoltaic cells. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology