Unique three-dimensional TiO2 dielectric nanostructures that efficiently trap light in thin silicon cells over a broad-band solar spectrum (300–1100 nm) were developed using rigorous scattering matrix simulations. We find a high optical absorbance of > 95 % with a predicted short-circuit current density approaching the 4n2 limit. The simulations elaborate the light trapping performance of 3-D dielectric structures, providing guidance for designing the 3-D structures to be integrated over the flat silicon substrate surfaces. The study demonstrates a promising approach for designing a variety of photovoltaic devices, particularly flexible crystalline silicon solar cells.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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