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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.


Calculated SWR and SWQE for half embedded Al NPs on top of 3JSC with(a–c) or without (d) a 25 nm thick SiO2 spacer layer for Al NPs with a diameter of (a) 50 nm, (b) 100 nm, (c) 150 nm, and (d) 100 nm.
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f9: Calculated SWR and SWQE for half embedded Al NPs on top of 3JSC with(a–c) or without (d) a 25 nm thick SiO2 spacer layer for Al NPs with a diameter of (a) 50 nm, (b) 100 nm, (c) 150 nm, and (d) 100 nm.

Mentions: Considering the fact that a thick SiO2 spacer/anti-reflection layer will reduce the light coupling between Al NPs and the semiconductor, we further investigate the potential of embedded Al NPs on top of a thin 25-nm spacer layer. The proximity of the NPs to the semiconductor will not compromise coupling, and the dielectric overcoating layer would provide the antireflection effect and resonance tunability of the particles. We look at SWR and SWQE for three configurations – half embedded (H), as in Fig. 9(a–d) (Fig. 9(d) was with no spacer layer), almost fully (AF) embedded, as in Fig. 10(a–c), and the fully embedded (F) case, as in Fig. 10(d). Diameters of 50, 100 and 150 nm were studied. Comparing the different sizes, for the half embedded case, the NPs with a diameter of 50 nm attained the maximum SWQE at a pitch of 100 nm for both the top and middle sub-cells, with the performance achieving that of SLAR. The NPs with a diameter of 100 nm yielded different optimum configurations for the top and middle cells. The 150-nm diameter case did not perform as well as the other two cases, as shown in Fig. 9(c).


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

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

Calculated SWR and SWQE for half embedded Al NPs on top of 3JSC with(a–c) or without (d) a 25 nm thick SiO2 spacer layer for Al NPs with a diameter of (a) 50 nm, (b) 100 nm, (c) 150 nm, and (d) 100 nm.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

f9: Calculated SWR and SWQE for half embedded Al NPs on top of 3JSC with(a–c) or without (d) a 25 nm thick SiO2 spacer layer for Al NPs with a diameter of (a) 50 nm, (b) 100 nm, (c) 150 nm, and (d) 100 nm.
Mentions: Considering the fact that a thick SiO2 spacer/anti-reflection layer will reduce the light coupling between Al NPs and the semiconductor, we further investigate the potential of embedded Al NPs on top of a thin 25-nm spacer layer. The proximity of the NPs to the semiconductor will not compromise coupling, and the dielectric overcoating layer would provide the antireflection effect and resonance tunability of the particles. We look at SWR and SWQE for three configurations – half embedded (H), as in Fig. 9(a–d) (Fig. 9(d) was with no spacer layer), almost fully (AF) embedded, as in Fig. 10(a–c), and the fully embedded (F) case, as in Fig. 10(d). Diameters of 50, 100 and 150 nm were studied. Comparing the different sizes, for the half embedded case, the NPs with a diameter of 50 nm attained the maximum SWQE at a pitch of 100 nm for both the top and middle sub-cells, with the performance achieving that of SLAR. The NPs with a diameter of 100 nm yielded different optimum configurations for the top and middle cells. The 150-nm diameter case did not perform as well as the other two cases, as shown in Fig. 9(c).

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.