Could nanostructures act as lenses to focus incident light for efficient utilization of photovoltaics? Is it possible, in order to avoid serious recombination loss, to realize periodic nanostructures in solar cells without direct etching in a light absorbing semiconductor? Here we propose and demonstrate a promising architecture to shape nanolenses on a planar semiconductor. Optically transparent and electrically conductive nanolenses simultaneously provide the optical benefit of modulating the incident light and the electrical advantage of supporting carrier transportation. A transparent indium-tin-oxide (ITO) nanolens was designed to focus the incident light-spectrum in focal lengths overlapping to a strong electric field region for high carrier collection efficiency. The ITO nanolens effectively broadens near-zero reflection and provides high tolerance to the incident light angles. We present a record high light-conversion efficiency of 16.0% for a periodic nanostructured Si solar cell.
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The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning, in a grant funded by the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy (KETEP-20133030011000).