We experimentally investigate the optical properties of layers of InP, Si, and GaP nanowires, relevant for applications in solar cells. The nanowires are strongly photonic, resulting in a significant coupling mismatch with incident light due to multiple scattering. We identify a design principle for the effective suppression of reflective losses, based on the ratio of the nondiffusive absorption and diffusive scattering lengths. Using this principle, we demonstrate successful suppression of the hemispherical diffuse reflectance of InP nanowires to below that of the corresponding transparent effective medium. The design of light scattering in nanowire materials is of large importance for optimization of the external efficiency of nanowire-based photovoltaic device
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