Abstract:A concept of a modulated one-dimensional photonic-crystal (PC) structure is introduced as a back reflector for thin-film solar cells. The structure comprises two PC parts, each consisting of layers of different thicknesses. Using layers of amorphous silicon and amorphous silicon nitride a reflectance close to 100% is achieved over a broad wavelength region (700–1300 nm). Based on this concept, a back reflector was designed for thin-film microcrystalline silicon solar cells, using n-doped amorphous silicon and ZnO:Al. Simulations show that the short-circuit current of the cell with a modulated PC back reflector closely resembles that of a cell with an ideal reflector.