ACS nano

High Performance Ultrathin GaAs Solar Cells Enabled with Heterogeneously Integrated Dielectric Periodic Nanostructures.

PMID 26376087


Due to their favorable materials properties including direct bandgap and high electron mobilities, epitaxially grown III-V compound semiconductors such as gallium arsenide (GaAs) provide unmatched performance over silicon in solar energy harvesting. Nonetheless, their large-scale deployment in terrestrial photovoltaics remains challenging mainly due to the high cost of growing device quality epitaxial materials. In this regard, reducing the thickness of constituent active materials under appropriate light management schemes is a conceptually viable option to lower the cost of GaAs solar cells. Here, we present a type of high efficiency, ultrathin GaAs solar cell that incorporates bifacial photon management enabled by techniques of transfer printing to maximize the absorption and photovoltaic performance without compromising the optimized electronic configuration of planar devices. Nanoimprint lithography and dry etching of titanium dioxide (TiO2) deposited directly on the window layer of GaAs solar cells formed hexagonal arrays of nanoscale posts that serve as lossless photonic nanostructures for antireflection, diffraction, and light trapping in conjunction with a co-integrated rear-surface reflector. Systematic studies on optical and electrical properties and photovoltaic performance in experiments, as well as numerical modeling, quantitatively describe the optimal design rules for ultrathin, nanostructured GaAs solar cells and their integrated modules.