Understanding the nanophotonic light-trapping structure of diatom frustule for enhanced solar energy conversion: A theoretical and experimental study

Xiangfan Chen, Chen Wang, Evan Baker, Jane Wang, Cheng Sun

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

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent designs in nanophotonic light-trapping technologies offer promising potential to develop high-efficiency thin-film solar cell at dramatically reduced cost. However, the lack of a cost effective scalable nanomanufacturing technique remains the main road-block. In nature, diatoms exhibit high solar energy harvesting efficiency due to their frustules (i.e., hard porous cell wall made of silica) possessing remarkable hierarchical nano-features optimized for the photosynthetic process through millions of years evolution. To explore this unique light trapping effect, different species of diatoms (Coscinodiscus sp. and Coscinodiscus wailesii) are cultured and characterized by Scanning electron microscope (SEM). Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis (RCWA) and Finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method are employed to numerically study the nanophotonic light-trapping effect. The absorption efficiency is significantly enhanced over the spectrum region centered on 450nm and 700nm where the electric fields are found strongly confined within the active layer. The transmission and reflection spectra are also measured by optical spectroscopy and the experimental results are in good agreement with numerical simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBioinspired, Biointegrated, Bioengineered Photonic Devices II
PublisherSPIE
ISBN (Print)9780819498717
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventBioinspired, Biointegrated, Bioengineered Photonic Devices II - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 1 2014Feb 2 2014

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
Volume8958
ISSN (Print)1605-7422

Conference

ConferenceBioinspired, Biointegrated, Bioengineered Photonic Devices II
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA
Period2/1/142/2/14

Keywords

  • Diatom
  • FDTD
  • Light trapping
  • RCWA
  • Solar cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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