Bridging electromagnetic and carrier transport calculations for three-dimensional modeling of plasmonic solar cells

Blackett Laboratory, Department of Physics, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.
Optics Express (Impact Factor: 3.49). 07/2011; 19 Suppl 4(14):A888-96. DOI: 10.1364/OE.19.00A888
Source: PubMed


We report three-dimensional modelling of plasmonic solar cells in which electromagnetic simulation is directly linked to carrier transport calculations. To date, descriptions of plasmonic solar cells have only involved electromagnetic modelling without realistic assumptions about carrier transport, and we found that this leads to considerable discrepancies in behaviour particularly for devices based on materials with low carrier mobility. Enhanced light absorption and improved electronic response arising from plasmonic nanoparticle arrays on the solar cell surface are observed, in good agreement with previous experiments. The complete three-dimensional modelling provides a means to design plasmonic solar cells accurately with a thorough understanding of the plasmonic interaction with a photovoltaic device.

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Available from: Nicholas P. Hylton, Sep 30, 2015
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    • "Keeping the fabrication feasibility in mind, an 80-nm ITO layer (working as the anti-reflection layer and contact) and a back silver reflector are introduced. The final photocurrent response of the new DNH solar cells through a detailed investigation on the internal carrier transport and recombination process is performed (see our previous publications [5,20-22]). The optoelectronic simulations include carrier generation, recombination, transport, and collection mechanisms with the carrier generation profile taken from the electromagnetic calculation. "
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    ABSTRACT: A dual-diameter nanohole (DNH) photovoltaic system is proposed, where a top (bottom) layer with large (small) nanoholes is used to improve the absorption for the short-wavelength (long-wavelength) solar incidence, leading to a broadband light absorption enhancement. Through three-dimensional finite-element simulation, the core device parameters, including the lattice constant, nanohole diameters, and nanohole depths, are engineered in order to realize the best light-matter coupling between nanostructured silicon and solar spectrum. The designed bare DNH system exhibits an outstanding absorption capability with a photocurrent density (under perfect internal quantum process) predicted to be 27.93 mA/cm2, which is 17.39%, 26.17%, and over 100% higher than the best single-nanohole (SNH) system, SNH system with an identical Si volume, and equivalent planar configuration, respectively. Considering the fabrication feasibility, a modified DNH system with an anti-reflection coating and back silver reflector is examined by simulating both optical absorption and carrier transport in a coupled way in frequency and three-dimensional spatial domains, achieving a light-conversion efficiency of 13.72%. PACS 85.60.-q; Optoelectronic device; 84.60.Jt; Photovoltaic conversion
    Nanoscale Research Letters 09/2014; 9(1):481. DOI:10.1186/1556-276X-9-481 · 2.78 Impact Factor
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    • "To evaluate the electrical response of each junction, a device simulation which couples both optical absorption and carrier transport are performed [17,18]. P/i/n setup is assumed for both junctions with p/n doping concentration of 1.3 × 1017/4.3 × 1016 cm−3 and thickness of 10/30 nm (the rest is intrinsic region). "
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    ABSTRACT: Tandem solar cells consisting of amorphous and microcrystalline silicon junctions with the top junction nanopatterned as a two-dimensional photonic crystal are studied. Broadband light trapping, detailed electron/hole transport, and photocurrent matching modulation are considered. It is found that the absorptances of both junctions can be significantly increased by properly engineering the duty cycles and pitches of the photonic crystal; however, the photocurrent enhancement is always unevenly distributed in the junctions, leading to a relatively high photocurrent mismatch. Further considering an optimized intermediate layer and device resistances, the optimally matched photocurrent approximately 12.74 mA/cm2 is achieved with a light-conversion efficiency predicted to be 12.67%, exhibiting an enhancement of over 27.72% compared to conventional planar configuration.
    Nanoscale Research Letters 02/2014; 9(1):73. DOI:10.1186/1556-276X-9-73 · 2.78 Impact Factor
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    • "In other words, the work that studies the photonic response in SNSCs considers little of the intrinsic carrier behaviors and simply assumes that all the photogenerated carriers can successfully contribute to the photocurrent, which is unfortunately not always true especially for the solar cells based on low-quality materials [26]; on the contrary, the work that directs at carrier transport in SNSCs treats the process of photon transport simply as Beer–Lambert approximation, which overlooks the unconventional optical resonances especially for the nanostructured solar cells. In fact, a simultaneous consideration of both optical and electronic properties is vital to design SNSCs comparable to the experiments, as what has been introduced in [26] for plasmonic solar cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: Single nanowire solar cells (SNSCs) are typical nanoscale optoelectronic devices with unique photonic and electronic properties, which require precise designs in terms of a comprehensive simulation technique. We present a coupled model for silicon-based SNSCs which solves both Maxwell and semiconductor equations self-consistently using the finite-element method. The light-trapping behavior (e.g., leaky-mode resonances) and carrier generation/recombination inside the nanowire cavity are simulated and analyzed especially by addressing the effects of semiconductor doping, surface recombination, and device dimension on the performance of the solar cells. The absorption efficiency, external quantum efficiency, and current-voltage characteristics have been obtained for a complete evaluation of SNSCs.
    IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 09/2013; 19(5):1-8. DOI:10.1109/JSTQE.2013.2246771 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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