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, 12 (5), 2187-92

Broadband Enhancement in Thin-Film Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells Enabled by Nucleated Silver Nanoparticles

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Broadband Enhancement in Thin-Film Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells Enabled by Nucleated Silver Nanoparticles

Xi Chen et al. Nano Lett.

Abstract

Recently plasmonic effects have gained tremendous interest in solar cell research because they are deemed to be able to dramatically boost the efficiency of thin-film solar cells. However, despite of the intensive efforts, the desired broadband enhancement, which is critical for real device performance improvement, has yet been achieved with simple fabrication and integration methods appreciated by the solar industry. We propose in this paper a novel idea of using nucleated silver nanoparticles to effectively scatter light in a broadband wavelength range to realize pronounced absorption enhancement in the silicon absorbing layer. Since it does not require critical patterning, experimentally these tailored nanoparticles were achieved by the simple, low-cost and upscalable wet chemical synthesis method and integrated before the back contact layer of the amorphous silicon thin-film solar cells. The solar cells incorporated with 200 nm nucleated silver nanoparticles at 10% coverage density clearly demonstrate a broadband absorption enhancement and significant superior performance including a 14.3% enhancement in the short-circuit photocurrent density and a 23% enhancement in the energy conversion efficiency, compared with the randomly textured reference cells without nanoparticles. Among the measured plasmonic solar cells the highest efficiency achieved was 8.1%. The significant enhancement is mainly attributed to the broadband light scattering arising from the integration of the tailored nucleated silver nanoparticles.

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