Directional selectivity and ultra-light-trapping in solar cells
Directional and energy selective optical surface structures attached to solar cells may result in both, enhancement or deterioration of photovoltaic performance of a solar cell. On the one hand, restricting the cell acceptance to the small incidence angle of direct and circumsolar irradiation enhances the maximum path length of the light in a solar cell with Lambertian surfaces even above the Yablonovitch limit (ultra-light-trapping). On the other hand, restrictions to small acceptance angles imply losses of diffuse sunlight, even for perfectly tracked cells. Using temporally resolved solar irradiation spectra, we simulate the enhancement and loss in the annual energy yield of silicon solar cells of various thicknesses. We assume an idealized angular and energy selective filter on top of the Lambertian surface of the absorber and compare the results to a Lambertian surface only. We find a maximum annual gain in the energy density of 32.5% for 1 mu m, and of similar to 10% for 10 mu m and 100 mu m thick perfectly tracked crystalline silicon solar cells. The simulation implies various tracking modes and two different locations. Finally, we introduce two possible realizations of such a filter; a Ru-gate stack and inverted opals. In experimental measurements, we could verify the absorptance enhancement by such a structure applied on top of a thin silicon wafer.