Improved light management in planar silicon and perovskite solar cells using PDMS scattering layer

Salman Manzoor, Zhengshan Yu, Asad Ali, Waqar Ali, Kevin A. Bush, Axel F. Palmstrom, Stacey F. Bent, Michael D. McGehee, Zachary Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Several developing solar cell technologies—including perovskite cells, thin-film cells, epitaxially grown cells, and many tandem cells on silicon—have fabrication constraints that require a planar front surface. However, flat front surfaces result in large reflection losses and poor light trapping within the cell. We investigate scattering layers made from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) polymer carrying a random-pyramid texture to reduce such losses. The layers are first tested on a model system consisting of silicon heterojunction solar cells that have zero, one, or two surfaces textured with the same random pyramids (the other surfaces being planar) in order to elucidate the potential and limitations of employing a textured transparent layer instead of a textured absorber. PDMS layers result in short-circuit current density enhancements of 3.0 mA/cm2 and 1.7 mA/cm2 when applied to the front of a cell with flat front and rear surfaces, and a cell with a flat front surface and textured rear surface, respectively. Optical simulations reveal that the majority of the gain is due to a reduction in front-surface reflection and that the layers contribute only marginally to trapping weakly absorbed infrared light; nevertheless, a cell with a textured rear surface and a PDMS layer at its flat front surface can come to within 0.7 mA/cm2 of the performance of a double-side-textured cell. Finally, a PDMS scattering layer is implemented in a planar perovskite solar cell, boosting its short-circuit current density by 1.9 mA/cm2 and thus its efficiency by 10.6% relative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Antireflection coating
  • Light management
  • Light trapping
  • Perovskite
  • Ray tracing
  • Silicon heterojunction solar cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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