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Nanocone Substrate Structure for Photovoltaics


A team of Stanford engineers has developed a novel solar cell with a nanocone structure designed to enhance light absorption and power conversion efficiency. These cells are patterned by a roughing technique which creates subwavelength scale periodic modulation for all layers from the bottom substrate which is different from traditional nanotextured approach and has ultrahigh efficiency for photon management. Both the roughness and the periodicity are independently controllable. The enhancement of light absorption and power efficiency is not limited to any specific material system and is compatible with most solar manufacturing. This technology opens up exciting opportunities for improving the efficiency reduces the materials usage and capital cost and increases manufacturing throughput for a variety of photovoltaic applications. Stage of Research: The inventors have fabricated cells with a 280nm thick amorphous silicon layer that can absorb 94% of the light between 400-800nm and have a power efficiency of 5.9%.


1) High light absorption - 94% of the light between 400-800nm (46% more than flat film devices) 2) High efficiency - power efficiency of 5.9% (25% higher than flat film devices) 3) Simple process - compatible with most solar manufacturing 4) Tunable structure - roughness and periodicity of nanocones can be independently controlled

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