Effective medium analysis on the optical properties of silicon nanowire arrays

Han Wang, Xianglei Liu, Liping Wang, Zhuomin Zhang

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

1 Scopus citations


In search of next-generation solar cells, silicon nanowire arrays have attracted great attention since they are costeffective and may absorb more light compared to thin-film silicon solar cells. Theoretical studies using finite-different time-domain and transfer matrix methods have been performed to investigate the optical properties of silicon nanowire (SiNW) arrays, however, they are computationally intensive and require periodic condition, which may not be satisfied with most fabricated samples. In the present study, an effective medium analysis is performed to study the optical properties of vertically-aligned SiNWs on Si substrate in the wavelength range from 310 nm to 1100 nm, which is of the most important interest for solar cells. The effective dielectric function of the SiNW layer is obtained from the Bruggeman approximation. Thin-film optics formulae are employed to calculate the reflectance, transmittance and absorptance of the SiNWs on silicon substrate at normal incidence. The effect of geometric parameters such as filling ratio and wire length will be investigated to understand the light absorption and to facilitate the optimal design of highperformance SiNW solar cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReflection, Scattering, and Diffraction from Surfaces III
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
EventReflection, Scattering, and Diffraction from Surfaces III - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 13 2012Aug 16 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherReflection, Scattering, and Diffraction from Surfaces III
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Absorption
  • Effective medium
  • Silicon nanowires
  • Thin film optics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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