To harness the full spectrum of solar energy, optical reflections at the surface of a solar photovoltaic cell must be reduced as much as possible over the relevant solar spectral range and over a wide range of incident angles. The development of antireflection coatings embodying omni-directionality over a wide range of wavelengths is challenging. Recently, nanoporous films, fabricated by oblique-angle deposition and having tailored- and very low-refractive index properties, have been demonstrated. Tailorability of the refractive index and the ability to realize films with a very low-refractive index are properties critical in the performance of broadband, omnidirectional antireflection coatings. As such, nanoporous materials are ideally suited for developing near-perfect antireflection coatings. Here, we discuss multilayer antireflection coatings with near-perfect transmittance over the spectral range of 400−2000 nm and over widely varying angles of acceptance, 0−90°. The calculated solar optical-to-electrical efficiency enhancement that can be attained with nanoporous multilayer coatings over single-layer quarter-wave films is 18%, making these coatings highly attractive for solar cell applications.
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