Combined nano and micro structuring for enhanced radiative cooling and efficiency of photovoltaic cells Academic Article uri icon


  • Outdoor devices comprising materials with mid-IR emissions at the atmospheric window (8-13 μm) achieve passive heat dissipation to outer space (~ - 270 °C), besides the atmosphere, being suitable for cooling applications. Recent studies have shown that the micro-scale photonic patterning of such materials further enhances their spectral emissivity. This approach is crucial, especially for daytime operation, where solar radiation often increases the device heat load. However, micro-scale patterning is often sub-optimal for other wavelengths besides 8-13 μm, limiting the devices' efficiency. Here, we show that the superposition of properly designed in-plane nano- and micro-scaled periodic patterns results in enhanced device performance in the case of solar cell applications. We apply this idea in scalable, few-micron-thick, and simple single-material (glass) radiative coolers on top of simple-planar Si substrates, where we show an ~ 25.4% solar absorption enhancement, combined with a ~  ≤ 5.8 °C temperature reduction. Utilizing a coupled opto-electro-thermal modeling we evaluate our nano-micro-scale cooler also in the case of selected, highly-efficient Si-based photovoltaic architectures, where we achieve an efficiency enhancement of ~ 3.1%, which is 2.3 times higher compared to common anti-reflection layers, while the operating temperature of the device also decreases. Besides the enhanced performance of our nano-micro-scale cooler, our approach of superimposing double- or multi-periodic gratings is generic and suitable in all cases where the performance of a device depends on its response on more than one frequency bands.

author list (cited authors)

  • Perrakis, G., Tasolamprou, A. C., Kenanakis, G., Economou, E. N., Tzortzakis, S., & Kafesaki, M.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021 11:11 AM