Revisiting light trapping in silicon solar cells with random pyramids

Salman Manzoor, Miha Filipic, Marko Topic, Zachary Holman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

13 Scopus citations


Random pyramids are the most widely used texture in monocrystalline silicon solar cells for reducing front-surface reflection and trapping weakly absorbed light. In prior efforts to evaluate the light-trapping performance of random pyramids through optical simulations, the base angle of the pyramids was assumed to be 54.7°, as is expected from the orientation of the crystallographic planes. In this contribution, we benchmark the light-trapping capability of real random pyramids - which have a distribution of base angles - against both ideal, 54.7° random pyramids, and a Lambertian scatterer. We do so by calculating the path length enhancement and fraction of rays remaining trapped as a function of passes through the wafer, and this information is used to calculate short-circuit current density as a function of wafer thickness. Interestingly, the excellent performance of real random pyramids - they are close to Lambertian - arises precisely because they are imperfect and have a distribution of angles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2016 IEEE 43rd Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9781509027248
StatePublished - Nov 18 2016
Event43rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2016 - Portland, United States
Duration: Jun 5 2016Jun 10 2016

Publication series

NameConference Record of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
ISSN (Print)0160-8371


Other43rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • atomic force microscopy
  • light trapping
  • photovoltaic cells
  • ray tracing
  • silicon
  • surface morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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