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Broadband Quantum Efficiency Enhancement in High Index Nanowire Resonators

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journal contribution
posted on 13.05.2015, 00:00 by Yiming Yang, Xingyue Peng, Steven Hyatt, Dong Yu
Light trapping in subwavelength semiconductor nanowires (NWs) offers a promising approach to simultaneously reducing material consumption and enhancing photovoltaic performance. Nevertheless, the absorption efficiency of a NW, defined by the ratio of optical absorption cross section to the NW diameter, lingers around 1 in existing NW photonic devices, and the absorption enhancement suffers from a narrow spectral width. Here, we show that the absorption efficiency can be significantly improved in NWs with higher refractive indices, by an experimental observation of up to 350% apparent external quantum efficiency in lead sulfide NW resonators, a 3-fold increase compared to Si NWs. Furthermore, broadband absorption enhancement is achieved in single tapered NWs, where light of various wavelengths is absorbed at segments with different diameters. Overall, the single NW Schottky junction solar cells benefit from optical resonance, near bandgap open circuit voltage, and long minority carrier diffusion length, demonstrating power conversion efficiency comparable to Si and III–V single NW coaxial p–n junction cells but with much simpler fabrication processes.