Effective and Equivalent Refractive Index Models for Patterned Solar Cell Films via a Robust Homogenization Method

Team: NanoEnergy Lab


Solar cells containing complex geometric structures such as texturing, photonic crystals, and plasmonics are becoming increasingly popular, but this complexity also creates increased computational demand when designing these devices through costly full-wave simulations. Treating these complex geometries by modeling them as homogeneous slabs can greatly speed up these computations. To this end, we introduce a simple and robust method to solve the branching problem in the homogenization of metamaterials. We start from the branch of the complex logarithm in the Nicolson-Ross-Weir method with the minimum absolute mean derivative in the low frequency range and enforce continuity. This is followed by comparing the reflectance, transmittance, and absorptance of the original and homogenized slabs. We use our method to demonstrate accurate and fast optical simulations of patterned PbS colloidal quantum dot solar cell films. We also compare patterned solar cells homogenized via equivalent models (wavelength-scale features) and effective models (sub-wavelength-scale features), finding that for the latter, agreement is almost exact, whereas the former contains small errors due to the unphysical nature of the homogeneity assumption for that size regime. This method can greatly reduce computational cost and thus facilitate the design of optical structures for solar cell applications.

National Science Foundation
Susanna M. Thon

Team Members

  • Ekin Gunes Ozaktas
  • Sreyas Chintapalli
  • Susanna M. Thon

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