Broadband Short-Range Surface Plasmon Structures for Absorption Enhancement in Organic Photovoltaics

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA.
Optics Express (Impact Factor: 3.49). 11/2010; 18 Suppl 4(23):A620-30. DOI: 10.1364/OE.18.00A620
Source: PubMed


We theoretically demonstrate a polarization-independent nanopatterned ultra-thin metallic structure supporting short-range surface plasmon polariton (SRSPP) modes to improve the performance of organic solar cells. The physical mechanism and the mode distribution of the SRSPP excited in the cell device were analyzed, and reveal that the SRSPP-assisted broadband absorption enhancement peak could be tuned by tailoring the parameters of the nanopatterned metallic structure. Three-dimensional finite-difference time domain calculations show that this plasmonic structure can enhance the optical absorption of polymer-based photovoltaics by 39% to 112%, depending on the nature of the active layer (corresponding to an enhancement in short-circuit current density by 47% to 130%). These results are promising for the design of organic photovoltaics with enhanced performance.

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Available from: Zakya H. Kafafi, Apr 04, 2015
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    • "Secondly, plasmonic nanoparticles can induce surface plasmon polaritons (SPP) modes which can efficiently confine and guide the light in the absorption layer [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]. Thirdly, plasmonic nanoparticles work as an antenna that efficiently store incident energy in the localized surface plasmon mode resulting enhanced photocurrent owing to the plasmonic near-field coupling [17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Efficient light management in solar cells can be achieved by incorporating plasmonic nanoscatterers that support surface plasmons: excitations of conduction electrons at the interface/surface. As known, light trapping increases the amount of light absorbed by bouncing the light within the cell, giving it a chance to be absorbed thereby increasing the absorption and scattering cross-section. The challenge is to fabricate these plasmonic nanoparticles in cost-effective method as well as without hampering optical, electrical and topographical properties of underneath layers. Here in this report a simple two step method was adopted to fabricate silver nanoparticles on zinc oxide followed by topographic and elemental analysis thereof. Numerical calculation was carried out to elucidate optical scattering of silver nanoparticles of various sizes as well as that of dimer. Near-electric field distribution of single silver nanoparticles and dimer along with the individual component of electric field was simulated by finite different time domain analysis. Using the benefit of increased scattering cross-section and ease of such nanoparticles fabrication, a cell configure is proposed herewith.
    Advanced Materials Research 06/2014; 938:280-285. DOI:10.4028/
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    • "For textured substrates, which often demanded invert structures instead of using traditional ITO glasses, also led to over filling of the valleys and shunts at the crests of the device structures [15]. Moreover, extensive studies of light-trapping have been focused either on silicon solar cells rather than PSCs [16] [17], or on the simulation and characterization of optical properties rather than the consideration of the optical and electrical performances experimentally [18]. Even the few experimental works reported for trapping light in thin-film PSCs, enhanced absorption did not lead to a homologous relationship with the improved photocurrent and enhanced PCE [19] [20]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Typically, most low bandgap materials have low absorption with wavelength at around 500 nm. Besides, the restrictions of active layer thickness of thin film polymer solar cells (PSCs) make the devices reduce to absorb light in long wavelength region (around 700 nm). As absorption would be a joint effect of material band properties and optical structures, well-designed light-trapping strategies for these low-bandgap PSCs will be more useful to further enhance efficiencies. We investigate the change of optical properties and device performances of organic solar cells based on our newly synthesized low-bandgap material with embedded poly-(3,4-ethylene-dioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) PEDOT:PSS grating in the photoactive bulk heterojunction layer. Our results show that the PEDOT:PSS grating with a period of 320 nm and depth of 40 nm makes the light absorption improved in specific regions of the solar spectrum, especially the weak absorption region of our bulk heterojunction material near 500 nm and the red/near-infrared region at around 700 nm. The incident photon-to-electron conversion efficiency (IPCE) also improves with corresponding enhancement peaks. The physical understanding of the absorption enhancement will be investigated and described through our theoretical study. The power conversion efficiency is improved due to the enhancement of short circuit current. The work demonstrates the absorption enhancement of low bandgap solar cells using appropriate grating structures and provides the physical understanding of the absorption enhancement for improving the performances of organic solar cells.
    Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 09/2012; 99:327–332. DOI:10.1016/j.solmat.2011.12.023 · 5.34 Impact Factor
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    • "Although randomly distributed nanoparticles of varying size and shape received much attention [6], their resonant frequencies for periodic plasmonic nanostructures usually occur within a narrow spectral band. Physical mechanisms that lead to broadband absorption enhancement and/or a robust predictive capability for designing plasmonic nanostructures have recently been pursued [29]–[31]. Due to the dispersive nature of SPP modes, plasmonic nanostructures are usually sensitive to incident angle, which led to designs of plasmonic black bodies, perfect absorbers or omnidirectional absorbers based on 1-D grating nanostructures [32], 2-D complex metallic nanopatterned structures [33], and randomly distributed metamaterials [34], These support angleinsensitive hybrid modes in the visible and near-IR spectral region. Incorporating these nanostructures into OPV devices offers a promising approach to address the angular tolerance limitation for conventional plasmonic nanostructures. "
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    ABSTRACT: Incorporation of plasmonic nanostructures for light trapping is an attractive solution to enhance the optical absorption of the active light-harvesting layer(s) in thin-film photovoltaic cells. The latest research highlights on plasmonic-enhanced organic photovoltaics (OPVs), including metallic nanoparticles and periodic nanopatterned structures, are presented in this paper.
    IEEE Photonics Journal 04/2012; 4(2):620-624. DOI:10.1109/JPHOT.2012.2188886 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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