International Year of Light: Black Silicon Photovoltaics

by | Mar 19, 2015

This month's International Year of Light article reviews the optoelectronic properties of black silicon and gives guidelines how to optimize the relevant physical parameters.

2015 is the International Year of Light, proclaimed by the United Nations to recognize the achievements of light science and its applications, and its contributions to humankind. It will raise special attention for major topics and key technologies in the field of optics and photonics.  Advanced Optical Materials will contribute to this goal through publishing a special series of outstanding review articles.

black siliconRalf Wehrspohn (Halle, Germany) has cooperated with other groups working on black silicon solar cells to give this overview on different fabrication methods of black silicon as well as to identify parameter to quantitatively compare of their optoelectronic properties. As benchmark parameters for this comparision, they used the optical absorption being a key parameter for the maximum short-circuit current and the minority carrier lifetime being a key parameter for the maximum open-circuit voltage of a solar cell. Different fabrication processes are discussed and compared with numerical models: plasma etching, chemical etching, or laser processing. Furthermore, guidelines to optimize the relevant physical parameters, such as the correlation length, optimal height of the nanostructures, and the surface defect densities for optoelectronic applications are given.

The full series can be found at All articles will be published in Advanced Optical Materials and added to this virtual issue over the year.