Skip to Content
Find More Like This
Return to Search

Diffraction: Enhanced Light Absorption of Solar Cells and Photodetectors

Sandia National Laboratories

Contact SNL About This Technology


PDF Document PublicationMarket Sheet  (890 KB)

Technology Marketing SummaryThe solar and photovoltaic industry has grown steadily over the last several years.  In order to maintain these growth rates, the processes and methods need to be continuously improved.  Sandia National Laboratories has created a method for enhanced light absorption of solar cells and photodetectors in a narrowband or wideband spectral absorption.DescriptionEnhanced absorption is achieved by utilizing a front-surface grating structure on the surface of the solar cell or photodetector.  This generates high diffraction order when light is present.  The majority of the light energy is then distributed into higher diffraction orders and absorption is increased.Benefits
  • Improved performance of thin-film solar cells, space solar cells, and wavelength-selective photodetectors
  • Enhanced light absorption of solar cells and photodetectors by diffraction
  • Improves light absorption without affecting the surface passivation
Applications and Industries
  • Solar and Renewable Energy
  • Photovoltaic
  • Thin-film Solar Cells
  • Space Solar Cells
  • Polarization-Dependent Photodetectors
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 6,858,462
Enhanced light absorption of solar cells and photodetectors by diffraction
Enhanced light absorption of solar cells and photodetectors by diffraction is described. Triangular, rectangular, and blazed subwavelength periodic structures are shown to improve performance of solar cells. Surface reflection can be tailored for either broadband, or narrow-band spectral absorption. Enhanced absorption is achieved by efficient optical coupling into obliquely propagating transmitted diffraction orders. Subwavelength one-dimensional structures are designed for polarization-dependent, wavelength-selective absorption in solar cells and photodetectors, while two-dimensional structures are designed for polarization-independent, wavelength-selective absorption therein. Suitable one and two-dimensional subwavelength periodic structures can also be designed for broadband spectral absorption in solar cells and photodetectors. If reactive ion etching (RIE) processes are used to form the grating, RIE-induced surface damage in subwavelength structures can be repaired by forming junctions using ion implantation methods. RIE-induced surface damage can also be removed by post RIE wet-chemical etching treatments.
Sandia National Laboratories 02/22/2005
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
US Patent# 6,858,462/ SD# 6402Prototype - Key elements have been demonstrated in relevant environments. Available - Various licensing and partnering options are available. Please contact the Intellectual Property Department to discuss.09/07/201103/19/2013

Contact SNL About This Technology

To: Technology Inquiries<>