Front surface texturization is a standard procedure used to improve optical properties of photovoltaic devices. In some particular cases, such as when dealing with ultrathin substrates, common texturization techniques can become unpractical or even unfeasible. Texturized polymer films applied on top of such devices may be used as an alternative. In this article, we report on the development of textured polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) films to be placed on top of planar crystalline silicon solar cells based on thin substrates (≤40 μm). The PDMS polymer is deposited onto a rough surface (conventional random pyramid textured silicon), cured and detached from it. By scanning electron microscope images, we demonstrate that the dilution of PDMS into toluene helps in a better replica of the master surface. Next, we apply the optimized PDMS films on top of dummy samples based on 10, 20, and 40 μm thick crystalline silicon (c-Si) substrates whose reflectance is significantly reduced after placing the PDMS films. Accurate optical simulations indicate that the optical improvement comes from three mechanisms: higher light transmission into the device, lower reflectance at the c-Si surface, and better light trapping properties at the thin c-Si absorber. Experimental verification of the optical improvement with texturized PDMS films is reported based on 40 μm thick solar cell, where a short-circuit current density gain of 1.7 mA/cm2 is observed.
- Surface texture
- Thin crystalline silicon solar cells