Efficiency enhancement of ultrathin CIGS solar cells by optimal bandgap grading. Part II: finite-difference algorithm and double-layer antireflection coatings

Faiz Ahmad, Benjamin J. Civiletti, Peter B. Monk, Akhlesh Lakhtakia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In Part I [Appl. Opt. 58, 6067 (2019)], we used a coupled optoelectronic model to optimize a thin-film CuIn1−ξGaξSe2 (CIGS) solar cell with a graded-bandgap photon-absorbing layer and a periodically corrugated backreflector. The increase in efficiency due to the periodic corrugation was found to be tiny and that, too, only for very thin CIGS layers. Also, it was predicted that linear bandgap-grading enhances the efficiency of the CIGS solar cells. However, a significant improvement in solar cell efficiency was found using a nonlinearly (sinusoidally) graded-bandgap CIGS photon-absorbing layer. The optoelectronic model comprised two submodels: optical and electrical. The electrical submodel applied the hybridizable discontinuous Galerkin (HDG) scheme directly to equations for the drift and diffusion of charge carriers. As our HDG scheme sometimes fails due to negative carrier densities arising during the solution process, we devised a new, to the best of our knowledge, computational scheme using the finite-difference method, which also reduces the overall computational cost of optimization. An unfortunate normalization error in the electrical submodel in Part I came to light. This normalization error did not change the overall conclusions reported in Part I; however, some specifics did change. The new algorithm for the electrical submodel is reported here along with updated numerical results. We re-optimized the solar cells containing a CIGS photon-absorbing layer with either (i) a homogeneous bandgap, (ii) a linearly graded bandgap, or (iii) a nonlinearly graded bandgap. Considering the meager increase in efficiency with the periodic corrugation and additional complexity in the fabrication process, we opted for a flat backreflector. The new algorithm is significantly faster than the previous algorithm. Our new results confirm efficiency enhancement of 84% (resp. 63%) when the thickness of the CIGS layer is 600 nm (resp. 2200 nm), similarly to Part I. A hundredfold concentration of sunlight can increase the efficiency by an additional 27%. Finally, the currently used 110-nm-thick layer of MgF2 performs almost as well as optimal single- and double-layer antireflection coatings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10049-10061
Number of pages13
JournalApplied optics
Issue number33
StatePublished - Nov 20 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Efficiency enhancement of ultrathin CIGS solar cells by optimal bandgap grading. Part II: finite-difference algorithm and double-layer antireflection coatings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this