Photon management structures for solar cells
Since micro- and nanostructures for photon management are of increasing importance in novel high-efficiency solar cell concepts, structuring techniques with up-scaling potential play a key role in their realization. Interference lithography and nanoimprint processes are presented as technologies for origination and replication of fine-tailored photonic structures on large areas. At first, these structure origination and replication technologies are presented in detail: With the interference pattern of two or more coherent waves, a wide variety of structures with feature sizes ranging from 100 nm to 100 µm can be generated in photoresist by interference lithography. Examples are linear gratings, crossed gratings, hexagonal structures, three dimensional photonic crystals or surface-relief diffusers. The strength of this technology is that homogeneous structures can be originated on areas of up to 1.2 x 1.2 m2. The structures in photoresist, the so-called master structures, can serve as an etching mask for a pattern transfer, as a template for infiltration with different materials or they can be replicated via electroplating and subsequent replication processes. Especially in combination with replication steps, the industrially feasible production of elaborate structures is possible. As a particularly interesting process, nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is described in detail. As a way towards industrial production, a roller NIL tool is presented. After the description of the basic technologies, three application examples for solar cells are presented with details about the design of the structures, the structuring processes, sample characterization and evaluation: (1) honeycomb structures for the front side texturization of multicrystalline silicon wafer solar cells, (2) diffractive rear side gratings for absorption enhancement in the spectral region near the band gap of silicon, and (3) plasmonic metal nanoparticle arrays manufactured by combined imprint and lift off processes.