Near-field electromagnetic theory for thin solar cells

A. Niv, M. Gharghi, C. Gladden, O. D. Miller, X. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Current methods for evaluating solar cell efficiencies cannot be applied to low-dimensional structures where phenomena from the realm of near-field optics prevail. We present a theoretical approach to analyze solar cell performance by allowing rigorous electromagnetic calculations of the emission rate using the fluctuation-dissipation theorem. Our approach shows the direct quantification of the voltage, current, and efficiency of low-dimensional solar cells. This approach is demonstrated by calculating the voltage and the efficiency of a GaAs slab solar cell for thicknesses from several microns down to a few nanometers. This example highlights the ability of the proposed approach to capture the role of optical near-field effects in solar cell performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138701
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - 27 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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