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Subwavelength Nanolens Arrays as Optical Concentrators in Nanowire Photovoltaics

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Technology:

Semiconductor nanopillars have tunable optical properties with enhanced absorption characteristics and can potentially be integrated into several end products including optical modulators light-emitting sources photodetectors and solar cells. Arraying nanopillars in solar cells in particular potentially offers a highly efficient architect structure that could significantly reduce material costs compared to planar structures. However despite modeled predictions integrating these structures into devices has resulted in poor efficiency due in part to inadequate light management. UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a processing technique for fabricating convex domes on top of individual nanopillar structures. This innovation enhances the optoelectric efficiency of these arrayed structures used in such devices as solar cells and light-emitting diodes. A reliable fabrication process has been developed and working prototypes produced showing the optoelectronic enhancement that results from the dome-shaped optical concentrators. Technology Applications: 1) Use to manufacture components of anowire-based solar cells 2) Use to manufacture components of light-emitting diodes State Of Development: A reliable fabrication process has been developed and working prototypes have been produced. These demonstrate the optoelectronic enhancement that results from the dome-shaped optical concentrators.

Benefits:

1) Individual nanodomes are self-aligned to the nanowire obviating the need for dedicated patterning techniques 2) Standard sputtering techniques can be used to naturally constitute convex transparent conducting oxides on top of nanowire photovoltaics 3) Optical features can be readily tuned during the sputtering deposition 4) Optoelectronic functionality can be applied to any nanostructure array to enhance photodetectivity response or photo-to-electron conversion

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