We report a novel plasmonic solar cell design implemented on an amorphous silicon platform. The enhancement of the scattering and trapping of the light is achieved by embedding nano-metallic cubic particles within the cell's junction. Amorphous silicon cell with a thickness of 1200nm is used. The spectral absorption of the silicon cell is limited to wavelengths larger than 1.1 u. Our proposed solar cell has a p-i-n configuration, with the amorphous silicon as the photo-active layer. Silver cubic nanoparticles are embedded at different locations within the photoactive layers of the solar cell. With the use of an FDTD simulator, we are able to characterize the optical performance of the solar cell. Our results show that the plasmonic properties of the cubic nanoparticles are more attractive for sensing applications compared to the traditional spherical configuration. The geometry of the cubic nanoparticles enables control over plasmon resonances both in the resonant wavelength and the degree of field enhancement. This is done by improving the refractive-index sensitivity on a thin silicon film, as well as increasing the scattering and trapping of light. Our simulations predict that the silver metallic nanoparticles will enhance the solar cell efficiency, by optimizing the plasmonic properties of the silver nanocube monolayer. We have achieved a 67% increase (from 7.5% to 12.5%) in the cell's efficiency by adding plasmonics to traditional amorphous p-i-n solar cell.

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Photonics North 2012
Department of Electronics

Hejazi, F. (F.), Ding, S.Y. (S. Y.), Sun, Y. (Y.), Bottomley, A. (A.), Ianoul, A.I, & Ye, W.N. (2012). Design of plasmonic enhanced silicon-based solar cells. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. doi:10.1117/12.2006549