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Optical simulation of complex nanostructured solar cells with a reduced basis method

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:kobv:188-fudissthesis000000102429-1
  • Simulations of optical processes and complex nanostructured devices have become omnipresent in recent years in several fields of current research and industrial applications, not limited to the field of photovoltaics. Devices or processes are optimized with respect to a certain objective where the underlying physical processes are described by partial differential equations. In photovoltaics and photonics electromagnetic fields are investigated which are governed by Maxwell’s equations. In this thesis a reduced basis method for the solution of the parameter dependent electromagnetic scattering problem with arbitrary parameters is developed. The method is developed with the specific challenges arising in optical simulations of thin-film silicon solar cells in mind. These are large in domain size and have a complex three-dimensional structure, making optimization tasks infeasible if high-accuracy of the electromagnetic field solution is required. The application of the empirical interpolation methods allows to expand an arbitrary parameter dependence affinely. Thus not only geometries, but also material tensors and source fields can be parameterized. Additionally, the required non-linear post-processing steps of the electromagnetic field to derive energy fluxes or volume absorption are addressed. The reduced basis method allows to reduce the computational costs by orders of magnitude compared to efficient finite element solvers. In addition, an efficient tailored domain decomposition algorithm is presented to model incoherent layers or illuminations in optical systems efficiently. This is of particular interest for solar cells in superstrate configuration where the absorber is illuminated through a glass substrate. The developed methods are employed in application examples taken from collaborations with experimentalists active in the joint lab “BerOSE” (Berlin Joint Lab for Optical Simulations for Energy Research). The optical model of a thin-film silicon multi-junction with incoherent light-trapping is characterized in great detail. The computational gains through hybrid, hp adaptive finite elements are studied and the incoherent domain decomposition algorithm is applied to model a more realistic light-trapping by the glass substrate. The numerical examples of a hexagonal nano-hole array and multi-junction silicon solar cell with a tunable intermediate reflector layer show that the reduced basis method is well suited as a forward solver for modeling and optimization tasks arising in photovoltaics and photonics. Reduced models for illumination and geometric parameters are built providing up to five orders of magnitude savings in computational costs. Resonance phenomena present in the nano-hole array example are detected and the model adapts itself automatically.
Author:Martin Hammerschmidt
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Tag:reduced basis method; model reduction; electromagnetics; photonics; solar cells; nanooptics; Maxwells equations; incoherence
Granting Institution:Freie Universität Berlin
Advisor:Frank Schmidt, Bernd Rech, Ralf Kornhuber
Date of final exam:2016/06/10
Year of first publication:2016
Page Number:XX, 169
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