In order to simultaneously decrease the production costs of thin film silicon solar cells and obtain higher performances, the authors have studied the possibility to increase the light trapping effect within thin film silicon solar cells deposited on flexible plastic substrates. In this context, different nano-structure shapes useable for the back contacts of amorphous silicon solar cells on plastic substrates have been investigated: random textures and gratings.
The optimisation of such back reflectors is so far empirical. Gratings constitute a well-known optical technique and their light trapping effect can be optimised by simulation.
A first conclusion is that neither the traditional “Haze factor” determined in air for a wavelength of 650nm nor the “rms roughness” of the surfaces are sufficient as criteria to optimise the back contact roughness for light trapping in cells. The shape of grains is a further essential criterion. The authors have so far obtained a relative current enhancement of 16% for solar cells deposited on randomly textured polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as compared to a corresponding conventional solar cell co-deposited on a flat mirror (Ag) on glass. Solar cells on PET with 6.3% stabilized efficiency have until now been obtained. Theoretical calculations indicate that gratings can enhance the current of a-Si solar cells by up to 30 percent.