Abstract

In this work the effects of plasmonics, nano-focusing, and orthogonalization of carrier and photon pathways are simultaneously explored by measuring the photocurrents in an elongated nano-scale solar cell with a silver nanoneedle inside. The silver nanoneedles formed the support of a conformally grown hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) n-i-p junction around it. A spherical morphology of the solar cell functions as a nano-lens, focusing incoming light directly on the silver nanoneedle. We found that plasmonics, geometric optics, and Fresnel reflections affect the nanostructured solar cell performance, depending strongly on light incidence angle and polarization. This provides valuable insight in solar cell processes in which novel concepts such as plasmonics, elongated nanostructures, and nano-lenses are used.

© 2012 OSA

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    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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    [CrossRef]
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    [CrossRef]
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    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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    [CrossRef]

2012

S. Berweger, J. M. Atkin, R. L. Olmon, and R. B. Raschke, “Light on the tip of a Needle: plasmonic nanofocusing for spectroscopy on the nanoscale,” Phys. Chem. Lett.3(7), 945–952 (2012).
[CrossRef]

2011

Y. Lee, A. Alu, and J. X. J. Zhang, “Efficient apertureless scanning probes using patterned plasmonic surfaces,” Opt. Express19(27), 25990–25999 (2011).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

V. E. Ferry, M. A. Verschuuren, M. C. Lare, R. E. I. Schropp, H. A. Atwater, and A. Polman, “Optimized spatial correlations for broadband light trapping nanopatterns in high efficiency ultrathin film a-Si:H solar cells,” Nano Lett.11(10), 4239–4245 (2011).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

E. S. Barnard, R. A. Pala, and M. L. Brongersma, “Photocurrent mapping of near-field optical antenna resonances,” Nat. Nanotechnol.6(9), 588–593 (2011).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. N. Munday and H. A. Atwater, “Large integrated absorption enhancement in plasmonic solar cells by combining metallic gratings and antireflection coatings,” Nano Lett.11(6), 2195–2201 (2011).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Y. Kuang, K. H. M. van der Werf, Z. S. Houweling, and R. E. I. Schropp, “Nanorod solar cell with an ultrathin a-Si:H absorber layer,” Appl. Phys. Lett.98(11), 113111 (2011).
[CrossRef]

2010

Y. Lu and A. Lal, “High-efficiency ordered silicon nano-conical-frustum array solar cells by self-powered parallel electron lithography,” Nano Lett.10(11), 4651–4656 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. Zhu, C. M. Hsu, Z. Yu, S. Fan, and Y. Cui, “Nanodome solar cells with efficient light management and self-cleaning,” Nano Lett.10(6), 1979–1984 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

M. D. Kelzenberg, S. W. Boettcher, J. A. Petykiewicz, D. B. Turner-Evans, M. C. Putnam, E. L. Warren, J. M. Spurgeon, R. M. Briggs, N. S. Lewis, and H. A. Atwater, “Enhanced absorption and carrier collection in Si wire arrays for photovoltaic applications,” Nat. Mater.9(3), 239–244 (2010).
[PubMed]

E. Garnett and P. Yang, “Light trapping in silicon nanowire solar cells,” Nano Lett.10(3), 1082–1087 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

M. J. Naughton, K. Kempa, Z. F. Ren, Y. Gao, J. Rybczynski, N. Argenti, W. Gao, Y. Wang, Y. Peng, J. R. Naughton, G. McMahon, T. Paudel, Y. C. Lan, M. J. Burns, A. Shepard, M. Clary, C. Ballif, F.-J. Haug, T. Söderström, O. Cubero, and C. Eminian, “Efficient nanocoax-based solar cells,” Phys. Status Solidi4(7), 181–183 (2010) (RRL).
[CrossRef]

H. A. Atwater and A. Polman, “Plasmonics for improved photovoltaic devices,” Nat. Mater.9(3), 205–213 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

V. E. Ferry, J. N. Munday, and H. A. Atwater, “Design considerations for plasmonic photovoltaics,” Adv. Mater. (Deerfield Beach Fla.)22(43), 4794–4808 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

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. Express18(S2Suppl 2), A237–A245 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2009

E. R. Encina, E. M. Perassi, and E. A. Coronado, “Near-field enhancement of multipole plasmon resonances in Ag and Au nanowires,” J. Phys. Chem. A113(16), 4489–4497 (2009).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

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. (Deerfield Beach Fla.)21(34), 3504–3509 (2009).
[CrossRef]

J. Zhu, Z. Yu, G. F. Burkhard, C. M. Hsu, S. T. Connor, Y. Xu, Q. Wang, M. McGehee, S. Fan, and Y. Cui, “Optical absorption enhancement in amorphous silicon nanowire and nanocone arrays,” Nano Lett.9(1), 279–282 (2009).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Y. A. Akimov, W. S. Koh, and K. Ostrikov, “Enhancement of optical absorption in thin-film solar cells through the excitation of higher-order nanoparticle plasmon modes,” Opt. Express17(12), 10195–10205 (2009).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Z. Fan, H. Razavi, J. W. Do, A. Moriwaki, O. Ergen, Y. L. Chueh, P. W. Leu, J. C. Ho, T. Takahashi, L. A. Reichertz, S. Neale, K. Yu, M. Wu, J. W. Ager, and A. Javey, “Three-dimensional nanopillar-array photovoltaics on low-cost and flexible substrates,” Nat. Mater.8(8), 648–653 (2009).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. Li, H. Yu, S. M. Wong, G. Zhang, X. Sun, P. G. Lo, and D. Kwong, “Si nanopillar array optimization on Si thin films for solar energy harvesting,” Appl. Phys. Lett.95(3), 033102 (2009).
[CrossRef]

V. Sivakov, G. Andrä, A. Gawlik, A. Berger, J. Plentz, F. Falk, and S. H. Christiansen, “Silicon nanowire-based solar cells on glass: synthesis, optical Properties, and cell parameters,” Nano Lett.9(4), 1549–1554 (2009).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2008

J. M. Spurgeon, H. A. Atwater, and N. S. Lewis, “A Comparison between the behavior of nanorod array and planar Cd(Se, Te) photoelectrodes,” J. Phys. Chem. C112(15), 6186–6193 (2008).
[CrossRef]

D. Kieven, T. Dittrich, A. Belaidi, J. Tornow, K. Schwarzburg, N. Allsop, and M. Lux-Steiner, “Effect of internal surface area on the performance of ZnO/In[sub 2]S[sub 3]/CuSCN solar cells with extremely thin absorber,” Appl. Phys. Lett.92(15), 153107 (2008).
[CrossRef]

A. Belaidi, T. Dittrich, D. Kieven, J. Tornow, K. Schwarzburg, and M. Lux-Steiner, “Influence of the local absorber layer thickness on the performance of ZnO nanorod solar cells,” Phys. Status Solidi2(4), 172–174 (2008) (RRL).
[CrossRef]

2007

B. Tian, X. Zheng, T. J. Kempa, Y. Fang, N. Yu, G. Yu, J. Huang, and C. M. Lieber, “Coaxial silicon nanowires as solar cells and nanoelectronic power sources,” Nature449(7164), 885–889 (2007).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

L. Tsakalakos, J. Balch, J. Fronheiser, B. A. Korevaar, O. Sulima, and J. Rand, “Silicon nanowire solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett.91(23), 233117 (2007).
[CrossRef]

G. Conibeer, “Third-generation photovoltaics,” Mater. Today10(11), 42–50 (2007).
[CrossRef]

S. Pillai, K. R. Catchpole, T. Trupke, and M. A. Green, “Surface plasmon enhanced silicon solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys.101(9), 093105 (2007).
[CrossRef]

S. Pillai, K. R. Catchpole, T. Trupke, and M. A. Green, “Surface plasmon enhanced silicon solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys.101(9), 093105 (2007).
[CrossRef]

2006

E. Ozbay, “Plasmonics: merging photonics and electronics at nanoscale dimensions,” Science311(5758), 189–193 (2006).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2005

D. M. Schaadt, B. Feng, and E. T. Yu, “Enhanced semiconductor optical absorption via surface plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles,” Appl. Phys. Lett.86(6), 063106 (2005).
[CrossRef]

M. Law, L. E. Greene, J. C. Johnson, R. Saykally, and P. Yang, “Nanowire dye-sensitized solar cells,” Nat. Mater.4(6), 455–459 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

B. M. Kayes, H. A. Atwater, and N. S. Lewis, “Comparison of the device physics principles of planar and radial p-n junction nanorod solar cells,” J. Appl. Phys.97(11), 114302 (2005).
[CrossRef]

2004

B. P. Rand, P. Peumans, and S. R. Forrest, “Long-range absorption enhancement in organic tandem thin-film solar cells containing silver nanoclusters,” J. Appl. Phys.96(12), 7519–7526 (2004).
[CrossRef]

2003

M. K. van Veen, C. H. M. van der Werf, J. K. Rath, and R. E. I. Schropp, “Incorporation of amorphous and microcrystalline silicon in n–i–p solar cells,” Thin Solid Films430(1-2), 216–219 (2003).
[CrossRef]

2001

R. E. I. Schropp, “Status of Cat-CVD (Hot-Wire CVD) research in Europe,” Thin Solid Films395(1-2), 17–24 (2001).
[CrossRef]

S. A. Maier, M. L. Brongersma, P. G. Kik, S. Meltzer, A. A. G. Requicha, and H. A. Atwater, “Plasmonics: a route to nanoscale optical devices,” Adv. Mater. (Deerfield Beach Fla.)13(19), 1501–1505 (2001).
[CrossRef]

2000

M. Westphalen, U. Kreibig, J. Rostalski, H. Lüth, and D. Meissner, “Metal cluster enhanced organic solar cells,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells61(1), 97–105 (2000).
[CrossRef]

1998

H. R. Stuart and D. G. Hall, “Island size effects in nanoparticle-enhanced photodetectors,” Appl. Phys. Lett.73(26), 3815–3817 (1998).
[CrossRef]

1997

R. E. I. Schropp, K. F. Feenstra, E. C. Molenbroek, H. Meiling, and J. K. Rath, “Device-quality polycrystalline and amorphous silicon films by hot-wire chemical vapour deposition,” Philos. Mag. B76(3), 309–321 (1997).
[CrossRef]

1996

H. R. Stuart and D. G. Hall, “Absorption enhancement in silicon-on-insulator waveguides using metal island films,” Appl. Phys. Lett.69(16), 2327–2329 (1996).
[CrossRef]

1995

O. Stenzel, A. Stendal, K. Voigtsberger, and C. von Borczyskowski, “Enhancement of the photovoltaic conversion efficiency of copper phthalocyanine thin film devices by incorporation of metal clusters,” Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells37(3-4), 337–348 (1995).
[CrossRef]

1981

B. J. Messinger, K. U. von Raben, R. K. Chang, and P. W. Barber, “Local fields at the surface of noble-metal microspheres,” Phys. Rev. B24(2), 649–657 (1981).
[CrossRef]

Ager, J. W.

Z. Fan, H. Razavi, J. W. Do, A. Moriwaki, O. Ergen, Y. L. Chueh, P. W. Leu, J. C. Ho, T. Takahashi, L. A. Reichertz, S. Neale, K. Yu, M. Wu, J. W. Ager, and A. Javey, “Three-dimensional nanopillar-array photovoltaics on low-cost and flexible substrates,” Nat. Mater.8(8), 648–653 (2009).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Akimov, Y. A.

Allsop, N.

D. Kieven, T. Dittrich, A. Belaidi, J. Tornow, K. Schwarzburg, N. Allsop, and M. Lux-Steiner, “Effect of internal surface area on the performance of ZnO/In[sub 2]S[sub 3]/CuSCN solar cells with extremely thin absorber,” Appl. Phys. Lett.92(15), 153107 (2008).
[CrossRef]

Alu, A.

Andrä, G.

V. Sivakov, G. Andrä, A. Gawlik, A. Berger, J. Plentz, F. Falk, and S. H. Christiansen, “Silicon nanowire-based solar cells on glass: synthesis, optical Properties, and cell parameters,” Nano Lett.9(4), 1549–1554 (2009).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Argenti, N.

M. J. Naughton, K. Kempa, Z. F. Ren, Y. Gao, J. Rybczynski, N. Argenti, W. Gao, Y. Wang, Y. Peng, J. R. Naughton, G. McMahon, T. Paudel, Y. C. Lan, M. J. Burns, A. Shepard, M. Clary, C. Ballif, F.-J. Haug, T. Söderström, O. Cubero, and C. Eminian, “Efficient nanocoax-based solar cells,” Phys. Status Solidi4(7), 181–183 (2010) (RRL).
[CrossRef]

Atkin, J. M.

S. Berweger, J. M. Atkin, R. L. Olmon, and R. B. Raschke, “Light on the tip of a Needle: plasmonic nanofocusing for spectroscopy on the nanoscale,” Phys. Chem. Lett.3(7), 945–952 (2012).
[CrossRef]

Atwater, H. A.

J. N. Munday and H. A. Atwater, “Large integrated absorption enhancement in plasmonic solar cells by combining metallic gratings and antireflection coatings,” Nano Lett.11(6), 2195–2201 (2011).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

V. E. Ferry, M. A. Verschuuren, M. C. Lare, R. E. I. Schropp, H. A. Atwater, and A. Polman, “Optimized spatial correlations for broadband light trapping nanopatterns in high efficiency ultrathin film a-Si:H solar cells,” Nano Lett.11(10), 4239–4245 (2011).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

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. Express18(S2Suppl 2), A237–A245 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

H. A. Atwater and A. Polman, “Plasmonics for improved photovoltaic devices,” Nat. Mater.9(3), 205–213 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

V. E. Ferry, J. N. Munday, and H. A. Atwater, “Design considerations for plasmonic photovoltaics,” Adv. Mater. (Deerfield Beach Fla.)22(43), 4794–4808 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

M. D. Kelzenberg, S. W. Boettcher, J. A. Petykiewicz, D. B. Turner-Evans, M. C. Putnam, E. L. Warren, J. M. Spurgeon, R. M. Briggs, N. S. Lewis, and H. A. Atwater, “Enhanced absorption and carrier collection in Si wire arrays for photovoltaic applications,” Nat. Mater.9(3), 239–244 (2010).
[PubMed]

J. M. Spurgeon, H. A. Atwater, and N. S. Lewis, “A Comparison between the behavior of nanorod array and planar Cd(Se, Te) photoelectrodes,” J. Phys. Chem. C112(15), 6186–6193 (2008).
[CrossRef]

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Zheng, X.

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J. Zhu, Z. Yu, G. F. Burkhard, C. M. Hsu, S. T. Connor, Y. Xu, Q. Wang, M. McGehee, S. Fan, and Y. Cui, “Optical absorption enhancement in amorphous silicon nanowire and nanocone arrays,” Nano Lett.9(1), 279–282 (2009).
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[CrossRef] [PubMed]

M. Law, L. E. Greene, J. C. Johnson, R. Saykally, and P. Yang, “Nanowire dye-sensitized solar cells,” Nat. Mater.4(6), 455–459 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

M. D. Kelzenberg, S. W. Boettcher, J. A. Petykiewicz, D. B. Turner-Evans, M. C. Putnam, E. L. Warren, J. M. Spurgeon, R. M. Briggs, N. S. Lewis, and H. A. Atwater, “Enhanced absorption and carrier collection in Si wire arrays for photovoltaic applications,” Nat. Mater.9(3), 239–244 (2010).
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Figures (5)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

(a) Schematic depiction of the nanoneedle solar cell with angle of incidence and polarization directions. The layer sequence and thickness are indicated. High resolution SEM micrographs of (b) silver nanoneedles on a silver film and (c) silver needles and film plus ZnO, n-i-p and ITO. The scale bar corresponds to 1 micrometer.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

(a) Left axis: diffusive reflection (scattering) of the silver nanoneedles (solid), flat silver film (dotted). Right axis: optical absorption of nanoneedles and solar cell (dashed) and flat silver film + solar cell (dashed dotted) (b) IV curves of nanoneedle and flat film solar cell under AM1.5 illumination.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

EQE of (a) nanoneedle and (b) flat film solar cell at normal incidence and 30° incidence angle for s- and p-polarized light. (c) A comparison between the flat and nanoneedle solar cell

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Optical absorption spectra in a-Si:H (a) nanoneedle (b) without nanoneedle and (c) flat film solar cell at normal and 30° incidence for s- and p-polarized light.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Cross sections of the time-integrated photo-absorption in the a-Si:H part of the nanoneedle solar cell at 580 nm with nanoneedle (a) view perpendicular to plane of incidence (b) along plane of incidence (c) top view at z = 340 nm. Without silver nanoneedle inside, view perpendicular to plane of incidence (d) The intensity scale bar units are absorption 1019 m−3.

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