Abstract

We demonstrate the optimization of plasmonic thin-film solar cells with broadband absorption enhancements. The solar cells model system consists of a three-dimensional, periodic array of Ag/silica cylinders on a Si film supported by a silica substrate. Particle swarm optimization (PSO) and the finite-difference time domain (FDTD) are combined to achieve the maximum absorption enhancement (Ehm). Through optimization, the optimal system parameters, such as the height and diameter of Ag and the silica cylinder, and the period of periodic array, were obtained. Following this approach, we can attain a 321% enhancement in the integrated quantum efficiency as compared to a cell without metallic structures. The full-band absorption enhancement arises from the near-field enhancement and multiresonant guided modes in the Si waveguide.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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  1. W. Wang, S. Wu, K. Reinhardt, Y. Lu, and S. Chen, “Broadband light absorption enhancement in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett. 10, 2012–2018 (2010).
    [CrossRef]
  2. R. A. Pala, J. White, E. Barnard, J. Liu, and M. L. Brongersma, “Design of plasmonic thin-film solar cells with broadband absorption enhancements,” Adv. Mater. 21, 3504–3509 (2009).
    [CrossRef]
  3. C. Rockstuhl, S. Fahr, and F. Lederer, “Absorption enhancement in solar cells by localized plasmon polaritons,” J. Appl. Phys. 104, 123102 (2008).
    [CrossRef]
  4. Y. Akimov, K. Ostrikov, and E. Li, “Surface plasmon enhancement of optical absorption in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Plasmonics 4, 107–113 (2009).
    [CrossRef]
  5. K. R. Catchpole and A. Polman, “Plasmonic solar cells,” Opt. Express 16, 21793–21800 (2008).
    [CrossRef]
  6. S. Pillai, K. R. Catchpole, T. Trupke, and M. A. Green, “Surface plasmon enhanced silicon solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys. 101, 093105 (2007).
    [CrossRef]
  7. S. Pillai and M. Green, “Plasmonics for photovoltaic applications,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 94, 1481–1486 (2010).
    [CrossRef]
  8. K. Nakayama, K. Tanabe, and H. A. Atwater, “Plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced light absorption in GaAs solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 121904 (2008).
    [CrossRef]
  9. D. M. Schaadt, B. Feng, and E. T. Yu, “Enhanced semiconductor optical absorption via surface plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 063106 (2005).
    [CrossRef]
  10. V. E. Ferry, M. A. Verschuuren, H. B. T. Li, E. Verhagen, R. J. Walters, R. E. I. Schropp, H. A. Atwater, and A. Polman, “Light trapping in ultrathin plasmonic solar cells,” Opt. Express 18, A237–A245 (2010).
    [CrossRef]
  11. D. E. Aspnes, E. Kinsbron, and D. D. Bacon, “Optical properties of Au: Sample effects,” Phys. Rev. B 21, 3290–3299 (1980).
    [CrossRef]
  12. K. R. Catchpole and S. Pillai, “Absorption enhancement due to scattering by dipoles into silicon waveguides,” J. Appl. Phys. 100, 044504 (2006).
    [CrossRef]
  13. C. Hagglund, M. Zach, G. Petersson, and B. Kasemo, “Electromagnetic coupling of light into a silicon solar cell by nanodisk plasmons,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 053110 (2008).
    [CrossRef]
  14. H. R. Stuart and D. G. Hall, “Absorption enhancement in silicon-on-insulator waveguides using metal island films,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 2327–2329 (1996).
    [CrossRef]

2010 (3)

W. Wang, S. Wu, K. Reinhardt, Y. Lu, and S. Chen, “Broadband light absorption enhancement in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett. 10, 2012–2018 (2010).
[CrossRef]

S. Pillai and M. Green, “Plasmonics for photovoltaic applications,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 94, 1481–1486 (2010).
[CrossRef]

V. E. Ferry, M. A. Verschuuren, H. B. T. Li, E. Verhagen, R. J. Walters, R. E. I. Schropp, H. A. Atwater, and A. Polman, “Light trapping in ultrathin plasmonic solar cells,” Opt. Express 18, A237–A245 (2010).
[CrossRef]

2009 (2)

R. A. Pala, J. White, E. Barnard, J. Liu, and M. L. Brongersma, “Design of plasmonic thin-film solar cells with broadband absorption enhancements,” Adv. Mater. 21, 3504–3509 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Y. Akimov, K. Ostrikov, and E. Li, “Surface plasmon enhancement of optical absorption in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Plasmonics 4, 107–113 (2009).
[CrossRef]

2008 (4)

K. R. Catchpole and A. Polman, “Plasmonic solar cells,” Opt. Express 16, 21793–21800 (2008).
[CrossRef]

C. Rockstuhl, S. Fahr, and F. Lederer, “Absorption enhancement in solar cells by localized plasmon polaritons,” J. Appl. Phys. 104, 123102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

K. Nakayama, K. Tanabe, and H. A. Atwater, “Plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced light absorption in GaAs solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 121904 (2008).
[CrossRef]

C. Hagglund, M. Zach, G. Petersson, and B. Kasemo, “Electromagnetic coupling of light into a silicon solar cell by nanodisk plasmons,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 053110 (2008).
[CrossRef]

2007 (1)

S. Pillai, K. R. Catchpole, T. Trupke, and M. A. Green, “Surface plasmon enhanced silicon solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys. 101, 093105 (2007).
[CrossRef]

2006 (1)

K. R. Catchpole and S. Pillai, “Absorption enhancement due to scattering by dipoles into silicon waveguides,” J. Appl. Phys. 100, 044504 (2006).
[CrossRef]

2005 (1)

D. M. Schaadt, B. Feng, and E. T. Yu, “Enhanced semiconductor optical absorption via surface plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 063106 (2005).
[CrossRef]

1996 (1)

H. R. Stuart and D. G. Hall, “Absorption enhancement in silicon-on-insulator waveguides using metal island films,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 2327–2329 (1996).
[CrossRef]

1980 (1)

D. E. Aspnes, E. Kinsbron, and D. D. Bacon, “Optical properties of Au: Sample effects,” Phys. Rev. B 21, 3290–3299 (1980).
[CrossRef]

Akimov, Y.

Y. Akimov, K. Ostrikov, and E. Li, “Surface plasmon enhancement of optical absorption in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Plasmonics 4, 107–113 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Aspnes, D. E.

D. E. Aspnes, E. Kinsbron, and D. D. Bacon, “Optical properties of Au: Sample effects,” Phys. Rev. B 21, 3290–3299 (1980).
[CrossRef]

Atwater, H. A.

V. E. Ferry, M. A. Verschuuren, H. B. T. Li, E. Verhagen, R. J. Walters, R. E. I. Schropp, H. A. Atwater, and A. Polman, “Light trapping in ultrathin plasmonic solar cells,” Opt. Express 18, A237–A245 (2010).
[CrossRef]

K. Nakayama, K. Tanabe, and H. A. Atwater, “Plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced light absorption in GaAs solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 121904 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Bacon, D. D.

D. E. Aspnes, E. Kinsbron, and D. D. Bacon, “Optical properties of Au: Sample effects,” Phys. Rev. B 21, 3290–3299 (1980).
[CrossRef]

Barnard, E.

R. A. Pala, J. White, E. Barnard, J. Liu, and M. L. Brongersma, “Design of plasmonic thin-film solar cells with broadband absorption enhancements,” Adv. Mater. 21, 3504–3509 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Brongersma, M. L.

R. A. Pala, J. White, E. Barnard, J. Liu, and M. L. Brongersma, “Design of plasmonic thin-film solar cells with broadband absorption enhancements,” Adv. Mater. 21, 3504–3509 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Catchpole, K. R.

K. R. Catchpole and A. Polman, “Plasmonic solar cells,” Opt. Express 16, 21793–21800 (2008).
[CrossRef]

S. Pillai, K. R. Catchpole, T. Trupke, and M. A. Green, “Surface plasmon enhanced silicon solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys. 101, 093105 (2007).
[CrossRef]

K. R. Catchpole and S. Pillai, “Absorption enhancement due to scattering by dipoles into silicon waveguides,” J. Appl. Phys. 100, 044504 (2006).
[CrossRef]

Chen, S.

W. Wang, S. Wu, K. Reinhardt, Y. Lu, and S. Chen, “Broadband light absorption enhancement in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett. 10, 2012–2018 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Fahr, S.

C. Rockstuhl, S. Fahr, and F. Lederer, “Absorption enhancement in solar cells by localized plasmon polaritons,” J. Appl. Phys. 104, 123102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Feng, B.

D. M. Schaadt, B. Feng, and E. T. Yu, “Enhanced semiconductor optical absorption via surface plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 063106 (2005).
[CrossRef]

Ferry, V. E.

Green, M.

S. Pillai and M. Green, “Plasmonics for photovoltaic applications,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 94, 1481–1486 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Green, M. A.

S. Pillai, K. R. Catchpole, T. Trupke, and M. A. Green, “Surface plasmon enhanced silicon solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys. 101, 093105 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Hagglund, C.

C. Hagglund, M. Zach, G. Petersson, and B. Kasemo, “Electromagnetic coupling of light into a silicon solar cell by nanodisk plasmons,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 053110 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Hall, D. G.

H. R. Stuart and D. G. Hall, “Absorption enhancement in silicon-on-insulator waveguides using metal island films,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 2327–2329 (1996).
[CrossRef]

Kasemo, B.

C. Hagglund, M. Zach, G. Petersson, and B. Kasemo, “Electromagnetic coupling of light into a silicon solar cell by nanodisk plasmons,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 053110 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Kinsbron, E.

D. E. Aspnes, E. Kinsbron, and D. D. Bacon, “Optical properties of Au: Sample effects,” Phys. Rev. B 21, 3290–3299 (1980).
[CrossRef]

Lederer, F.

C. Rockstuhl, S. Fahr, and F. Lederer, “Absorption enhancement in solar cells by localized plasmon polaritons,” J. Appl. Phys. 104, 123102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Li, E.

Y. Akimov, K. Ostrikov, and E. Li, “Surface plasmon enhancement of optical absorption in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Plasmonics 4, 107–113 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Li, H. B. T.

Liu, J.

R. A. Pala, J. White, E. Barnard, J. Liu, and M. L. Brongersma, “Design of plasmonic thin-film solar cells with broadband absorption enhancements,” Adv. Mater. 21, 3504–3509 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Lu, Y.

W. Wang, S. Wu, K. Reinhardt, Y. Lu, and S. Chen, “Broadband light absorption enhancement in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett. 10, 2012–2018 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Nakayama, K.

K. Nakayama, K. Tanabe, and H. A. Atwater, “Plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced light absorption in GaAs solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 121904 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Ostrikov, K.

Y. Akimov, K. Ostrikov, and E. Li, “Surface plasmon enhancement of optical absorption in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Plasmonics 4, 107–113 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Pala, R. A.

R. A. Pala, J. White, E. Barnard, J. Liu, and M. L. Brongersma, “Design of plasmonic thin-film solar cells with broadband absorption enhancements,” Adv. Mater. 21, 3504–3509 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Petersson, G.

C. Hagglund, M. Zach, G. Petersson, and B. Kasemo, “Electromagnetic coupling of light into a silicon solar cell by nanodisk plasmons,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 053110 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Pillai, S.

S. Pillai and M. Green, “Plasmonics for photovoltaic applications,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 94, 1481–1486 (2010).
[CrossRef]

S. Pillai, K. R. Catchpole, T. Trupke, and M. A. Green, “Surface plasmon enhanced silicon solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys. 101, 093105 (2007).
[CrossRef]

K. R. Catchpole and S. Pillai, “Absorption enhancement due to scattering by dipoles into silicon waveguides,” J. Appl. Phys. 100, 044504 (2006).
[CrossRef]

Polman, A.

Reinhardt, K.

W. Wang, S. Wu, K. Reinhardt, Y. Lu, and S. Chen, “Broadband light absorption enhancement in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett. 10, 2012–2018 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Rockstuhl, C.

C. Rockstuhl, S. Fahr, and F. Lederer, “Absorption enhancement in solar cells by localized plasmon polaritons,” J. Appl. Phys. 104, 123102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Schaadt, D. M.

D. M. Schaadt, B. Feng, and E. T. Yu, “Enhanced semiconductor optical absorption via surface plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 063106 (2005).
[CrossRef]

Schropp, R. E. I.

Stuart, H. R.

H. R. Stuart and D. G. Hall, “Absorption enhancement in silicon-on-insulator waveguides using metal island films,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 2327–2329 (1996).
[CrossRef]

Tanabe, K.

K. Nakayama, K. Tanabe, and H. A. Atwater, “Plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced light absorption in GaAs solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 121904 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Trupke, T.

S. Pillai, K. R. Catchpole, T. Trupke, and M. A. Green, “Surface plasmon enhanced silicon solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys. 101, 093105 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Verhagen, E.

Verschuuren, M. A.

Walters, R. J.

Wang, W.

W. Wang, S. Wu, K. Reinhardt, Y. Lu, and S. Chen, “Broadband light absorption enhancement in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett. 10, 2012–2018 (2010).
[CrossRef]

White, J.

R. A. Pala, J. White, E. Barnard, J. Liu, and M. L. Brongersma, “Design of plasmonic thin-film solar cells with broadband absorption enhancements,” Adv. Mater. 21, 3504–3509 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Wu, S.

W. Wang, S. Wu, K. Reinhardt, Y. Lu, and S. Chen, “Broadband light absorption enhancement in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett. 10, 2012–2018 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Yu, E. T.

D. M. Schaadt, B. Feng, and E. T. Yu, “Enhanced semiconductor optical absorption via surface plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 063106 (2005).
[CrossRef]

Zach, M.

C. Hagglund, M. Zach, G. Petersson, and B. Kasemo, “Electromagnetic coupling of light into a silicon solar cell by nanodisk plasmons,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 053110 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Adv. Mater. (1)

R. A. Pala, J. White, E. Barnard, J. Liu, and M. L. Brongersma, “Design of plasmonic thin-film solar cells with broadband absorption enhancements,” Adv. Mater. 21, 3504–3509 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Appl. Phys. Lett. (4)

K. Nakayama, K. Tanabe, and H. A. Atwater, “Plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced light absorption in GaAs solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 121904 (2008).
[CrossRef]

D. M. Schaadt, B. Feng, and E. T. Yu, “Enhanced semiconductor optical absorption via surface plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 063106 (2005).
[CrossRef]

C. Hagglund, M. Zach, G. Petersson, and B. Kasemo, “Electromagnetic coupling of light into a silicon solar cell by nanodisk plasmons,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 053110 (2008).
[CrossRef]

H. R. Stuart and D. G. Hall, “Absorption enhancement in silicon-on-insulator waveguides using metal island films,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 2327–2329 (1996).
[CrossRef]

J. Appl. Phys. (3)

S. Pillai, K. R. Catchpole, T. Trupke, and M. A. Green, “Surface plasmon enhanced silicon solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys. 101, 093105 (2007).
[CrossRef]

K. R. Catchpole and S. Pillai, “Absorption enhancement due to scattering by dipoles into silicon waveguides,” J. Appl. Phys. 100, 044504 (2006).
[CrossRef]

C. Rockstuhl, S. Fahr, and F. Lederer, “Absorption enhancement in solar cells by localized plasmon polaritons,” J. Appl. Phys. 104, 123102 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Nano Lett. (1)

W. Wang, S. Wu, K. Reinhardt, Y. Lu, and S. Chen, “Broadband light absorption enhancement in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett. 10, 2012–2018 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Opt. Express (2)

Phys. Rev. B (1)

D. E. Aspnes, E. Kinsbron, and D. D. Bacon, “Optical properties of Au: Sample effects,” Phys. Rev. B 21, 3290–3299 (1980).
[CrossRef]

Plasmonics (1)

Y. Akimov, K. Ostrikov, and E. Li, “Surface plasmon enhancement of optical absorption in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Plasmonics 4, 107–113 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells (1)

S. Pillai and M. Green, “Plasmonics for photovoltaic applications,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 94, 1481–1486 (2010).
[CrossRef]

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Figures (5)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Geometry and convergence results for plasmonic thin-film solar cell designs. (a) Geometry of the structure under investigation, (b) absorption enhancement Ehm for plasmonic solar cell, (c) diameter of Ag and silica cylinder, (d) period of periodic array, (e) height of silica cylinder, (f) height of Ag cylinder.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Absorption enhancement Ehm for plasmonic solar cell with various parameters, i.e., Δ D = Δ P = ± 10 nm , Δ h SiO 2 = ± 3 nm , Δ h Ag = ± 5 nm .

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Total scattering cross section normalized to geometrical cross section. Inset: (bottom-left) the angular plot of the far field for Q 1 at a wavelength of 479 nm; (top-right) the angular plot of the far field for Q 2 at a wavelength of 647 nm.

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Quantum efficiency and absorption profiles. (a) Quantum efficiency as a function of the wavelength for plasmonic and bare solar cell. Inset: absorption enhancement relative to the reference. (b)–(e) Absorption profile at the wavelength labeled R 1 , R 2 , R 3 , and R 4 .

Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

Map of the absorption enhancements on logarithmic scale in a 50 nm thick Si film versus the incident photon energy and reciprocal lattice constant.

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