7 Citations (Scopus)


A lossless solar cell operating at the Shockley–Queisser limit generates an open circuit voltage (Voc) equal to the radiative limit. At Voc, the highly directional beam of photons from the sun is absorbed and subsequently externally re-emitted into a 4π solid angle, providing a large photon entropy loss. A solar cell can beat the Shockley–Queisser limit and approach the 46.7% ultimate limit by decreasing the output solid angle of the light emission at open circuit conditions. Here, a design for an indium phosphide single nanowire solar cell capable to operate 159 mV above the radiative limit is presented. The spontaneous emission factor is first optimized into a guided mode of the nanowire toward 68%. The authors subsequently launch a guided mode at the bottom straight part of the tapered nanowire yielding a photon escape probability of 81% for a tapering angle of θ = 1.2° and a top facet with a radius of 83 nm. When assuming homogeneous light emission along the nanowire, an outcoupling efficiency of 42% of the emitted light is obtained. The final optimization is the reduction of the emission cone toward 11 × 10−3 sr by focusing the guided mode with an external lens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2001636
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Optical Materials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2021


  • nanowires
  • radiative limit
  • Shockley–Queisser limit
  • solar cells
  • ultimate limit


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