Nanoparticle Plasmonics for 2D-Photovoltaics: Mechanisms, Optimization, and Limits

Department of Applied Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden.
Optics Express (Impact Factor: 3.49). 08/2009; 17(14):11944-57. DOI: 10.1364/OE.17.011944
Source: PubMed


Plasmonic nanostructures placed within or near photovoltaic (PV) layers are of high current interest for improving thin film solar cells. We demonstrate, by electrodynamics calculations, the feasibility of a new class of essentially two dimensional (2D) solar cells based on the very large optical cross sections of plasmonic nanoparticles. Conditions for inducing absorption in extremely thin PV layers via plasmon near-fields, are optimized in 2D-arrays of (i) core-shell particles, and (ii) plasmonic particles on planar layers. At the plasmon resonance, a pronounced optimum is found for the extinction coefficient of the PV material. We also characterize the influence of the dielectric environment, PV layer thickness and nanoparticle shape, size and spatial distribution. The response of the system is close to that of a 2D effective medium layer, and subject to a 50% absorption limit when the dielectric environment around the 2D layer is symmetric. In this case, a plasmon induced absorption of about 40% is demonstrated in PV layers as thin as 10 nm, using silver nanoparticle arrays of only 1 nm effective thickness. In an asymmetric environment, the useful absorption may be increased significantly for the same layer thicknesses. These new types of essentially 2D solar cells are concluded to have a large potential for reducing solar electricity costs.

Download full-text


Available from: Carl Hägglund,
  • Source
    • "One extremely promising way for the further development of solar cells is based on the use of nanomaterials: silicon nanowires [1], nanostructuration of active materials [2]. Among all those structures, the use of plasmonic metallic nanostructures has led to many studies [3]. Such nanostructures act as nanoantennas [4] to trap the light. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present a soft method for the fabrication of well controlled plasmonic nanodots on large ITO substrate for organic solar cells. Masks of nanopatterned aluminum oxide are elaborated and deposited on ITO substrates before metal deposition. After removal of the mask, well organized and isolated metallic nanodots are observed. In this article, we focus on gold or silver nanostructures: they show a Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) in the visible region, an important feature for their integration in organic thin film solar cells and the final improvement of the optical properties of the cell. In addition, their near field enhancement capacity is also clearly demonstrated by surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy and FDTD method simulation. An additional advantage of this protocol is that it can be used on any kind of surface and with different metals, depending on the final application.
    Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 10/2013; 117:657-662. DOI:10.1016/j.solmat.2012.12.018 · 5.34 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Therefore , the surface of the MNPs should be coated with an insulating shell [25] [35] having a thickness on the order of the nanometer. This was not considered in the present studies, but would be important in the construction of actual solar cell devices [36] [37]. Such shell reduces the intensity of the MNPs' scattered near-field, but can still allow them to produce significant absorption enhancement in their surrounding medium [19] "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A colloidal deposition technique is presented to construct long-range ordered hybrid arrays of self-assembled quantum dots and metal nanoparticles. Quantum dots are promising for novel opto-electronic devices but, in most cases, their optical transitions of interest lack sufficient light absorption to provide a significant impact in their implementation. A potential solution is to couple the dots with localized plasmons in metal nanoparticles. The extreme confinement of light in the near-field produced by the nanoparticles can potentially boost the absorption in the quantum dots by up to two orders of magnitude.In this work, light extinction measurements are employed to probe the plasmon resonance of spherical gold nanoparticles in lead sulfide colloidal quantum dots and amorphous silicon thin-films. Mie theory computations are used to analyze the experimental results and determine the absorption enhancement that can be generated by the highly intense near-field produced in the vicinity of the gold nanoparticles at their surface plasmon resonance.The results presented here are of interest for the development of plasmon-enhanced colloidal nanostructured photovoltaic materials, such as colloidal quantum dot intermediate-band solar cells.
    Nanotechnology 08/2013; 24(34):345402. DOI:10.1088/0957-4484/24/34/345402 · 3.82 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Plasmonic nanoparticles emerged recently as a possible solution to enhance solar cells efficiency1234. High losses of photons due to both incomplete absorption of solar spectrum and thermalization are the main drawbacks that have been addressed to overcome limitations in photovoltaics efficiency. Over the past decades several improvements in solar cells were introduced but the highest conversion efficiency achieved so far for a single junction cell is 25% for crystalline silicon and 10.5% for amorphous silicon5. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Metallic nanoparticles (NPs) have received recently considerable interest of photonic and photovoltaic communities. In this work, we report the optoelectronic properties of gold NPs (Au-NPs) obtained by depositing very thin gold layers on glass substrates through thermal evaporation electron-beam assisted process. The effect of mass thickness of the layer was evaluated. The polycrystalline Au-NPs, with grain sizes of 14 and 19 nm tend to be elongated in one direction as the mass thickness increase. A 2 nm layer deposited at 250°C led to the formation of Au-NPs with 10-20 nm average size, obtained by SEM images, while for a 5 nm layer the wide size elongates from 25 to 150 nm with a mean at 75 nm. In the near infrared region was observed an absorption enhancement of amorphous silicon films deposited onto the Au-NPs layers with a corresponding increase in the PL peak for the same wavelength region.
    Scientific Reports 04/2013; 3:1469. DOI:10.1038/srep01469 · 5.58 Impact Factor
Show more