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Optical simulations

Spectrum - enlarged view

Numerical and experimental 1 - R spectra for sinusoidally textured layer stacks. The textures have 750 nm pitch. Numerical results were calculated with two corrections, which differ because not all diffraction orders that are present in glass can propagate into air. Simulation results are shown for two angles of incidence: θin = 0° (thin lines) and θin = 8° (thick lines). Experimental results were obtained with theta θin = 8° [5].

Numerical techniques are a powerful tool to develop effective light management architectures for improved solar cell performance. We mainly use the state-of-the-art time-harmonic finite element solver JCMsuite, which is developed by JCMwave GmbH, a spin-off of the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB). The strengths of the finite-element-method (FEM) and the JCMsuite-software are its outstanding accuracy and convergence, which can outperform comparable methods such as FDTD in respective benchmarks [1].

The Department Optics for Solar Energy is a founding partner of the Berlin Joint Lab for Optical Simulations for Energy Research (BerOSE) which was founded by HZB, ZIB and the Free University Berlin in 2014. BerOSE forms an ideal environment for the interaction between experts in 3D optical computation and scientists in the synthesis of nanostructured materials for solar electricity generation, energy storage and photonics.

We use 3D optical simulations primarily to study nanophotonic light trapping for highly efficient silicon thin-film solar cells and to investigate large area photonic crystals. Further, we contribute with our numerical expertise to the Helmholtz Innovation Lab HySPRINT.

Besides rigorous Maxwell solvers, which are mainly suited for periodic architectures, we are also very experienced in other simulation techniques that can be used for solar devices. Among those are the coherent-incoherent net radiation method for planar layer stacks [2,3], which can be expanded with the scalar scattering theory for non-periodic nanotextures [4] and ray tracing for large textures.