Thanks to the silicon abundance, stability, non-toxicity and well known electronic properties, Sibased solar cells have represented the leading actors in the photovoltaic market and future projections confirm this predominance. However, half of the module cost is due to the material consumption and processing. In order to decrease the costs, a cut in the Si consumption must be operated, with consequent decrement in the optical absorption, generated current and device efficiency. To keep the performance level, a proper Si surface design with the objective to trap the light, has been developed. One of the most popular approaches is to use silicon nanowires embedded in the solar cell emitter where they play the role of optically and electrically active layer, thanks to their excellent optical absorption properties. However, also another material has been the terminus of the light-trapping materials, the silicon nanoholes. Their mechanical robustness is superior, making their integration inside the cell easier and cost-effective. The review will bring about all of the most common methods to fabricate these two types of nanostructures when used for solar cells applications, their optical properties and some critical aspects related to their high surface to volume ratio which modify the recombination processes.
5 Jul 2017