For thin film silicon solar cells it is vital to increase the optical path of light in the absorber because this allows for thinner cells with better stability and higher production throughput. We discuss the effect of periodically textured interfaces for the case of thin film silicon solar cells in n-i-p configuration using embossed plastic substrate which allows us studying the effect of a wide range of random or periodic textures. Due to the moderate thickness of the individual layers the texture is carried into each interface with a high degree of conformity even for the front contact which is the last layer. Solar cells on periodic structures show excellent performance; in a microcrystalline cell on a simple sinusoidal grating we achieved a gain in current density of 30%. Furthermore, the periodicity serves as a useful tool for the study of light management because the underlying phenomena like diffraction or grating coupling to plasma excitations of the metallic back reflector are governed by a relatively low number of well defined parameters like the periodicity and the amplitude of the grating.
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