Single-nanowire solar cells (SNSCs) have attracted considerable attention due to their unique light-harvesting capability mediated by the optical antenna effect and the high photoconversion efficiency due to the orthogonalization of the carrier collection to the photon incidence. We present a detailed prediction of the light-conversion efficiency of Si SNSCs based on finite-element simulation and thermodynamic balance analysis, with especially focusing on the comparison between SNSCs and film systems. Carrier losses due to radiative and Auger recombinations are introduced in the analysis of the limiting efficiency, which show that the Auger recombination plays a key role in accurately predicting the efficiency of Si SNSCs, otherwise, the device performance would be strongly overestimated. The study paves a more realistic way to evaluate the nanostructured solar cells based on indirect-band photoactive materials.
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