Rational design of inverted nanopencil arrays for cost-effective, broadband, and omnidirectional light harvesting

Hao Lin, Fei Xiu, Ming Fang, Senpo Yip, Ho Yuen Cheung, Fengyun Wang, Ning Han, Kwok Sum Chan, Chun Yuen Wong, Johnny C. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


Due to the unique optical properties, three-dimensional arrays of silicon nanostructures have attracted increasing attention as the efficient photon harvesters for various technological applications. In this work, instead of dry etching, we have utilized our newly developed wet anisotropic etching to fabricate silicon nanostructured arrays with different well-controlled geometrical morphologies, ranging from nanopillars, nanorods, and inverted nanopencils to nanocones, followed by systematic investigations of their photon-capturing properties combining experiments and simulations. It is revealed that optical properties of these nanoarrays are predominantly dictated by their geometrical factors including the structural pitch, material filling ratio, and aspect ratio. Surprisingly, along with the proper geometrical design, the inverted nanopencil arrays can couple incident photons into optical modes in the pencil base efficiently in order to achieve excellent broadband and omnidirectional light-harvesting performances even with the substrate thickness down to 10 μm, which are comparable to the costly and technically difficult to achieve nanocone counterparts. Notably, the fabricated nanopencils with both 800 and 380 nm base diameters can suppress the optical reflection well below 5% over a broad wavelength of 400-1000 nm and a wide angle of incidence between 0 and 60°. All these findings not only offer additional insight into the light-trapping mechanism in these complex 3D nanophotonic structures but also provide efficient broadband and omnidirectional photon harvesters for next-generation cost-effective ultrathin nanostructured photovoltaics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3752-3760
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 22 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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