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Can plasmonic Al nanoparticles improve absorption in triple junction solar cells?

Yang L, Pillai S, Green MA - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: The particle period, diameter and the thickness of the oxide layers were optimised for the sub-cells using simulations to achieve the lowest reflection and maximum external quantum efficiencies.Our results highlight the importance of proper reference comparison, and unlike previously published results, raise doubts regarding the effectiveness of Al plasmonic nanoparticles as a suitable front-side scattering medium for broadband efficiency enhancements when compared to standard single-layer antireflection coatings.However, by embedding the nanoparticles within the dielectric layer, they have the potential to perform better than an antireflection layer and provide enhanced response from both the sub-cells.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: 1] Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW-2052, Australia [2] College of Applied Nuclear Technology and Automation Engineering, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610059, China.

ABSTRACT
Plasmonic nanoparticles located on the illuminated surface of a solar cell can perform the function of an antireflection layer, as well as a scattering layer, facilitating light-trapping. Al nanoparticles have recently been proposed to aid photocurrent enhancements in GaAs photodiodes in the wavelength region of 400-900 nm by mitigating any parasitic absorption losses. Because this spectral region corresponds to the top and middle sub-cell of a typical GaInP/GaInAs/Ge triple junction solar cell, in this work, we investigated the potential of similar periodic Al nanoparticles placed on top of a thin SiO2 spacer layer that can also serve as an antireflection coating at larger thicknesses. The particle period, diameter and the thickness of the oxide layers were optimised for the sub-cells using simulations to achieve the lowest reflection and maximum external quantum efficiencies. Our results highlight the importance of proper reference comparison, and unlike previously published results, raise doubts regarding the effectiveness of Al plasmonic nanoparticles as a suitable front-side scattering medium for broadband efficiency enhancements when compared to standard single-layer antireflection coatings. However, by embedding the nanoparticles within the dielectric layer, they have the potential to perform better than an antireflection layer and provide enhanced response from both the sub-cells.

No MeSH data available.


Schematic of GaInP/GaInAs/Ge solar cell device structure used in the simulation.
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f2: Schematic of GaInP/GaInAs/Ge solar cell device structure used in the simulation.

Mentions: It is well known that a typical monolithic 3JSC device has three stacks of cells with different bandgaps, which are connected by wide bandgap tunnel junctions182425. The nearly 20 layers in a 3JSC are normally fabricated by molecular organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD)27. Although the GaInP/GaInAs/Ge 3JSC has been commercialised and already applied to CPV, the structural details, including specific layer thickness, material component and doping parameters, are not in the public domain. Hence, a device structure based on published literature25262728 is chosen as our simulated structure of GaInP/GaInAs/Ge 3JSC, which is shown in Fig. 2. The ternary alloy Ga0.51In0.49P was used as the back surface field layer for the middle sub-cell, the first tunnel junction, and the active material of the top sub-cell. Another main ternary alloy, Ga0.99In0.01As, was selected as the buffer layer, the second tunnel junction and the p-n junction of the middle sub-cell. Periodic cylindrical Al NPs of 50 nm height were placed on the front top surface of a SiO2 spacer layer. The height of the particles was fixed, with the period, the diameter and the thickness of the underlying SiO2 layer taken as variable parameters.


Can plasmonic Al nanoparticles improve absorption in triple junction solar cells?

Yang L, Pillai S, Green MA - Sci Rep (2015)

Schematic of GaInP/GaInAs/Ge solar cell device structure used in the simulation.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4490398&req=5

f2: Schematic of GaInP/GaInAs/Ge solar cell device structure used in the simulation.
Mentions: It is well known that a typical monolithic 3JSC device has three stacks of cells with different bandgaps, which are connected by wide bandgap tunnel junctions182425. The nearly 20 layers in a 3JSC are normally fabricated by molecular organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD)27. Although the GaInP/GaInAs/Ge 3JSC has been commercialised and already applied to CPV, the structural details, including specific layer thickness, material component and doping parameters, are not in the public domain. Hence, a device structure based on published literature25262728 is chosen as our simulated structure of GaInP/GaInAs/Ge 3JSC, which is shown in Fig. 2. The ternary alloy Ga0.51In0.49P was used as the back surface field layer for the middle sub-cell, the first tunnel junction, and the active material of the top sub-cell. Another main ternary alloy, Ga0.99In0.01As, was selected as the buffer layer, the second tunnel junction and the p-n junction of the middle sub-cell. Periodic cylindrical Al NPs of 50 nm height were placed on the front top surface of a SiO2 spacer layer. The height of the particles was fixed, with the period, the diameter and the thickness of the underlying SiO2 layer taken as variable parameters.

Bottom Line: The particle period, diameter and the thickness of the oxide layers were optimised for the sub-cells using simulations to achieve the lowest reflection and maximum external quantum efficiencies.Our results highlight the importance of proper reference comparison, and unlike previously published results, raise doubts regarding the effectiveness of Al plasmonic nanoparticles as a suitable front-side scattering medium for broadband efficiency enhancements when compared to standard single-layer antireflection coatings.However, by embedding the nanoparticles within the dielectric layer, they have the potential to perform better than an antireflection layer and provide enhanced response from both the sub-cells.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: 1] Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW-2052, Australia [2] College of Applied Nuclear Technology and Automation Engineering, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610059, China.

ABSTRACT
Plasmonic nanoparticles located on the illuminated surface of a solar cell can perform the function of an antireflection layer, as well as a scattering layer, facilitating light-trapping. Al nanoparticles have recently been proposed to aid photocurrent enhancements in GaAs photodiodes in the wavelength region of 400-900 nm by mitigating any parasitic absorption losses. Because this spectral region corresponds to the top and middle sub-cell of a typical GaInP/GaInAs/Ge triple junction solar cell, in this work, we investigated the potential of similar periodic Al nanoparticles placed on top of a thin SiO2 spacer layer that can also serve as an antireflection coating at larger thicknesses. The particle period, diameter and the thickness of the oxide layers were optimised for the sub-cells using simulations to achieve the lowest reflection and maximum external quantum efficiencies. Our results highlight the importance of proper reference comparison, and unlike previously published results, raise doubts regarding the effectiveness of Al plasmonic nanoparticles as a suitable front-side scattering medium for broadband efficiency enhancements when compared to standard single-layer antireflection coatings. However, by embedding the nanoparticles within the dielectric layer, they have the potential to perform better than an antireflection layer and provide enhanced response from both the sub-cells.

No MeSH data available.