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

L. Yang*, S. Pillai, M. A. Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

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 SiO 2 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11852
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

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