Abstract

We fabricate silver (Ag) nanoparticles (NPs) on the rear surface of thin film hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) solar cells to enhance the light absorption using spin-coating Ag ink, which can produce Ag NPs by a simple, fast, and inexpensive method. Ink concentration and sintering temperature of the spin-coating Ag ink are optimized to maximize the light absorption in the solar cell by tuning the size and distribution as well as the surface coverage of the Ag NPs. The thickness of a SiNx spacer layer, which was embedded between the solar cell and the Ag NPs for electrical isolation, dependent optical properties of the solar cell is also systematically investigated. The thin film a-Si:H solar cell with a thin SiNx spacer layer and the Ag NPs showed great potential for realizing cost-effective high-efficiency solar cells.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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  1. S. B. Mallick, N. P. Sergeant, M. Agrawal, J. Y. Lee, and P. Peumans, “Coherent light trapping in thin-film photovoltaics,” MRS Bull.36(06), 453–460 (2011).
    [CrossRef]
  2. H. A. Atwater and A. Polman, “Plasmonics for improved photovoltaic devices,” Nat. Mater.9(3), 205–213 (2010).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. F. J. Beck, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Tunable light trapping for solar cells using localized surface plasmons,” J. Appl. Phys.105(11), 114310 (2009).
    [CrossRef]
  4. 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]
  5. C. I. Yeo, Y. M. Song, S. J. Jang, and Y. T. Lee, “Optimal design of nano-scale surface light trapping structures for enhancing light absorption in thin film photovoltaics,” J. Appl. Phys.114(2), 024305 (2013).
    [CrossRef]
  6. Y. M. Song, J. S. Yu, and Y. T. Lee, “Antireflective submicrometer gratings on thin-film silicon solar cells for light-absorption enhancement,” Opt. Lett.35(3), 276–278 (2010).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. S. E. Han and G. Chen, “Toward the Lambertian limit of light trapping in thin nanostructured silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett.10(11), 4692–4696 (2010).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. J. Li, H. Y. Yu, S. M. Wong, G. Zhang, X. Sun, P. G. Q. Lo, and D. L. Kwong, “Si nanopillar array optimization on Si thin films for solar energy harvesting,” Appl. Phys. Lett.95(3), 033102 (2009).
    [CrossRef]
  9. S. Pillai, F. J. Beck, K. R. Catchpole, Z. Ouyang, and M. A. Green, “The effect of dielectric spacer thickness on surface plasmon enhanced solar cells for front and rear side depositions,” J. Appl. Phys.109(7), 073105 (2011).
    [CrossRef]
  10. F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Asymmetry in photocurrent enhancement by plasmonic nanoparticle arrays located on the front or on the rear of solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett.96(3), 033113 (2010).
    [CrossRef]
  11. Z. Ouyang, X. Zhao, S. Varlamov, Y. Tao, J. Wong, and S. Pillai, “Nanoparticle-enhanced light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl.19(8), 917–926 (2011).
    [CrossRef]
  12. C. I. Yeo, Y. M. Song, S. J. Jang, and Y. T. Lee, “Wafer-scale broadband antireflective silicon fabricated by metal-assisted chemical etching using spin-coating Ag ink,” Opt. Express19(S5Suppl 5), A1109–A1116 (2011).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. C. I. Yeo, J. H. Kwon, S. J. Jang, and Y. T. Lee, “Antireflective disordered subwavelength structure on GaAs using spin-coated Ag ink mask,” Opt. Express20(17), 19554–19562 (2012).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. J. M. Lee and B. I. Kim, “Thermal dewetting of Pt thin film: Etch-masks for the fabrication of semiconductor nanostructures,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A449–451, 769–773 (2007).
    [CrossRef]

2013 (1)

C. I. Yeo, Y. M. Song, S. J. Jang, and Y. T. Lee, “Optimal design of nano-scale surface light trapping structures for enhancing light absorption in thin film photovoltaics,” J. Appl. Phys.114(2), 024305 (2013).
[CrossRef]

2012 (1)

2011 (4)

S. Pillai, F. J. Beck, K. R. Catchpole, Z. Ouyang, and M. A. Green, “The effect of dielectric spacer thickness on surface plasmon enhanced solar cells for front and rear side depositions,” J. Appl. Phys.109(7), 073105 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Z. Ouyang, X. Zhao, S. Varlamov, Y. Tao, J. Wong, and S. Pillai, “Nanoparticle-enhanced light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl.19(8), 917–926 (2011).
[CrossRef]

C. I. Yeo, Y. M. Song, S. J. Jang, and Y. T. Lee, “Wafer-scale broadband antireflective silicon fabricated by metal-assisted chemical etching using spin-coating Ag ink,” Opt. Express19(S5Suppl 5), A1109–A1116 (2011).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

S. B. Mallick, N. P. Sergeant, M. Agrawal, J. Y. Lee, and P. Peumans, “Coherent light trapping in thin-film photovoltaics,” MRS Bull.36(06), 453–460 (2011).
[CrossRef]

2010 (4)

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

Y. M. Song, J. S. Yu, and Y. T. Lee, “Antireflective submicrometer gratings on thin-film silicon solar cells for light-absorption enhancement,” Opt. Lett.35(3), 276–278 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

S. E. Han and G. Chen, “Toward the Lambertian limit of light trapping in thin nanostructured silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett.10(11), 4692–4696 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Asymmetry in photocurrent enhancement by plasmonic nanoparticle arrays located on the front or on the rear of solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett.96(3), 033113 (2010).
[CrossRef]

2009 (2)

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

F. J. Beck, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Tunable light trapping for solar cells using localized surface plasmons,” J. Appl. Phys.105(11), 114310 (2009).
[CrossRef]

2007 (2)

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]

J. M. Lee and B. I. Kim, “Thermal dewetting of Pt thin film: Etch-masks for the fabrication of semiconductor nanostructures,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A449–451, 769–773 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Agrawal, M.

S. B. Mallick, N. P. Sergeant, M. Agrawal, J. Y. Lee, and P. Peumans, “Coherent light trapping in thin-film photovoltaics,” MRS Bull.36(06), 453–460 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Atwater, H. A.

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

Beck, F. J.

S. Pillai, F. J. Beck, K. R. Catchpole, Z. Ouyang, and M. A. Green, “The effect of dielectric spacer thickness on surface plasmon enhanced solar cells for front and rear side depositions,” J. Appl. Phys.109(7), 073105 (2011).
[CrossRef]

F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Asymmetry in photocurrent enhancement by plasmonic nanoparticle arrays located on the front or on the rear of solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett.96(3), 033113 (2010).
[CrossRef]

F. J. Beck, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Tunable light trapping for solar cells using localized surface plasmons,” J. Appl. Phys.105(11), 114310 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Catchpole, K. R.

S. Pillai, F. J. Beck, K. R. Catchpole, Z. Ouyang, and M. A. Green, “The effect of dielectric spacer thickness on surface plasmon enhanced solar cells for front and rear side depositions,” J. Appl. Phys.109(7), 073105 (2011).
[CrossRef]

F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Asymmetry in photocurrent enhancement by plasmonic nanoparticle arrays located on the front or on the rear of solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett.96(3), 033113 (2010).
[CrossRef]

F. J. Beck, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Tunable light trapping for solar cells using localized surface plasmons,” J. Appl. Phys.105(11), 114310 (2009).
[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]

Chen, G.

S. E. Han and G. Chen, “Toward the Lambertian limit of light trapping in thin nanostructured silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett.10(11), 4692–4696 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Green, M. A.

S. Pillai, F. J. Beck, K. R. Catchpole, Z. Ouyang, and M. A. Green, “The effect of dielectric spacer thickness on surface plasmon enhanced solar cells for front and rear side depositions,” J. Appl. Phys.109(7), 073105 (2011).
[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]

Han, S. E.

S. E. Han and G. Chen, “Toward the Lambertian limit of light trapping in thin nanostructured silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett.10(11), 4692–4696 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Jang, S. J.

Kim, B. I.

J. M. Lee and B. I. Kim, “Thermal dewetting of Pt thin film: Etch-masks for the fabrication of semiconductor nanostructures,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A449–451, 769–773 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Kwon, J. H.

Kwong, D. L.

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

Lee, J. M.

J. M. Lee and B. I. Kim, “Thermal dewetting of Pt thin film: Etch-masks for the fabrication of semiconductor nanostructures,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A449–451, 769–773 (2007).
[CrossRef]

Lee, J. Y.

S. B. Mallick, N. P. Sergeant, M. Agrawal, J. Y. Lee, and P. Peumans, “Coherent light trapping in thin-film photovoltaics,” MRS Bull.36(06), 453–460 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Lee, Y. T.

Li, J.

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

Lo, P. G. Q.

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

Mallick, S. B.

S. B. Mallick, N. P. Sergeant, M. Agrawal, J. Y. Lee, and P. Peumans, “Coherent light trapping in thin-film photovoltaics,” MRS Bull.36(06), 453–460 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Mokkapati, S.

F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Asymmetry in photocurrent enhancement by plasmonic nanoparticle arrays located on the front or on the rear of solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett.96(3), 033113 (2010).
[CrossRef]

Ouyang, Z.

Z. Ouyang, X. Zhao, S. Varlamov, Y. Tao, J. Wong, and S. Pillai, “Nanoparticle-enhanced light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl.19(8), 917–926 (2011).
[CrossRef]

S. Pillai, F. J. Beck, K. R. Catchpole, Z. Ouyang, and M. A. Green, “The effect of dielectric spacer thickness on surface plasmon enhanced solar cells for front and rear side depositions,” J. Appl. Phys.109(7), 073105 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Peumans, P.

S. B. Mallick, N. P. Sergeant, M. Agrawal, J. Y. Lee, and P. Peumans, “Coherent light trapping in thin-film photovoltaics,” MRS Bull.36(06), 453–460 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Pillai, S.

S. Pillai, F. J. Beck, K. R. Catchpole, Z. Ouyang, and M. A. Green, “The effect of dielectric spacer thickness on surface plasmon enhanced solar cells for front and rear side depositions,” J. Appl. Phys.109(7), 073105 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Z. Ouyang, X. Zhao, S. Varlamov, Y. Tao, J. Wong, and S. Pillai, “Nanoparticle-enhanced light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl.19(8), 917–926 (2011).
[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]

Polman, A.

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

F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Asymmetry in photocurrent enhancement by plasmonic nanoparticle arrays located on the front or on the rear of solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett.96(3), 033113 (2010).
[CrossRef]

F. J. Beck, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Tunable light trapping for solar cells using localized surface plasmons,” J. Appl. Phys.105(11), 114310 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Sergeant, N. P.

S. B. Mallick, N. P. Sergeant, M. Agrawal, J. Y. Lee, and P. Peumans, “Coherent light trapping in thin-film photovoltaics,” MRS Bull.36(06), 453–460 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Song, Y. M.

Sun, X.

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

Tao, Y.

Z. Ouyang, X. Zhao, S. Varlamov, Y. Tao, J. Wong, and S. Pillai, “Nanoparticle-enhanced light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl.19(8), 917–926 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Trupke, T.

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]

Varlamov, S.

Z. Ouyang, X. Zhao, S. Varlamov, Y. Tao, J. Wong, and S. Pillai, “Nanoparticle-enhanced light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl.19(8), 917–926 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Wong, J.

Z. Ouyang, X. Zhao, S. Varlamov, Y. Tao, J. Wong, and S. Pillai, “Nanoparticle-enhanced light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl.19(8), 917–926 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Wong, S. M.

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

Yeo, C. I.

Yu, H. Y.

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

Yu, J. S.

Zhang, G.

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

Zhao, X.

Z. Ouyang, X. Zhao, S. Varlamov, Y. Tao, J. Wong, and S. Pillai, “Nanoparticle-enhanced light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl.19(8), 917–926 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Appl. Phys. Lett. (2)

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

F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Asymmetry in photocurrent enhancement by plasmonic nanoparticle arrays located on the front or on the rear of solar cells,” Appl. Phys. Lett.96(3), 033113 (2010).
[CrossRef]

J. Appl. Phys. (4)

S. Pillai, F. J. Beck, K. R. Catchpole, Z. Ouyang, and M. A. Green, “The effect of dielectric spacer thickness on surface plasmon enhanced solar cells for front and rear side depositions,” J. Appl. Phys.109(7), 073105 (2011).
[CrossRef]

F. J. Beck, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Tunable light trapping for solar cells using localized surface plasmons,” J. Appl. Phys.105(11), 114310 (2009).
[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]

C. I. Yeo, Y. M. Song, S. J. Jang, and Y. T. Lee, “Optimal design of nano-scale surface light trapping structures for enhancing light absorption in thin film photovoltaics,” J. Appl. Phys.114(2), 024305 (2013).
[CrossRef]

Mater. Sci. Eng. A (1)

J. M. Lee and B. I. Kim, “Thermal dewetting of Pt thin film: Etch-masks for the fabrication of semiconductor nanostructures,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A449–451, 769–773 (2007).
[CrossRef]

MRS Bull. (1)

S. B. Mallick, N. P. Sergeant, M. Agrawal, J. Y. Lee, and P. Peumans, “Coherent light trapping in thin-film photovoltaics,” MRS Bull.36(06), 453–460 (2011).
[CrossRef]

Nano Lett. (1)

S. E. Han and G. Chen, “Toward the Lambertian limit of light trapping in thin nanostructured silicon solar cells,” Nano Lett.10(11), 4692–4696 (2010).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Nat. Mater. (1)

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

Opt. Express (2)

Opt. Lett. (1)

Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. (1)

Z. Ouyang, X. Zhao, S. Varlamov, Y. Tao, J. Wong, and S. Pillai, “Nanoparticle-enhanced light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells,” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl.19(8), 917–926 (2011).
[CrossRef]

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Figures (5)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Schematic of the thin film a-Si:H solar cell with rear localized Ag NPs formed by spin-coating Ag ink without SiNx spacer layer. The inset on the right shows the fabrication procedure to form Ag NPs by using spin-coating Ag ink and subsequent sintering process.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

(a) Top-view SEM images of the Ag NPs formed directly on the rear surface of thin film a-Si:H solar cell and (b) surface coverage of the Ag NPs corresponding to various Ag ink concentrations and sintering temperatures.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

(a) Hemispherical transmittance and (b) reflectance spectra of the thin film a-Si:H solar cells with rear localized Ag NPs corresponding to various Ag ink concentrations and the sintering temperatures.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

(a) Absorption spectra and (b) absorption enhancement of the thin film a-Si:H solar cells with rear localized Ag NPs corresponding to various Ag ink concentrations and sintering temperatures. The inset in Fig. 4(a) shows average absorption in the wavelength range of 300-1200 nm.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

(a) Hemispherical transmittance, (b) reflectance, and (c) absorption spectra of the thin film a-Si:H solar cells with SiNx spacer layer and rear localized Ag NPs corresponding to various thicknesses of the spacer layer. (d) Average absorption of the solar cells as a function of SiNx spacer layer thickness. Schematic of the thin film a-Si:H solar cell with Ag NPs on SiNx spacer is shown in the inset of Fig. 5(d).

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