We present a design of implementing plasmonic nanoparticles made from silver onto the surface of amorphous silicon based solar cells. When adding these silver nanoparticles we expect to see enhancements to the solar cells due to the plasmonic effects induced by the metal nanoparticles. The nanoparticles are used as subwavelength scattering elements to couple and trap light within the cell. In addition, the excited surface plasmon-polaritons promote a strong localized field enhancement which increases the cells ability to absorb light. Our choice of geometry of the nanoparticle is cubic rather than the traditional spherical geometry. We expect to see the cell perform better with the cubic shape due to the larger surface area it spans. We investigate the effects of these particles on to the performance of the solar cells, as well as introduce an intrinsic layer between the active p and n region creating a p-i-n solar cell configuration. We report the use of an FDTD simulator to characterize the optical performance of the solar cell. Both cubical and spherical nanoparticles made from silver were studied. Our simulations predict an overall increase of 67% (from 7.5% to 12.5) based on the p-i-n configuration with inclusion of the plasmonic particles onto the surface of the cells. Experimentally we verified the results by first fabricating a crystalline silicon-based solar cell with a p-n configuration and then placing the silver nanocubes onto the surface of the cell. An overall increase of about 28% was experimentally demonstrated (from 3.97% to 5.081%). We anticipate further increases with the p-i-n configuration.

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2nd Symposium on Physics, Simulation, and Photonic Engineering of Photovoltaic Devices
Department of Electronics

Hejazi, F. (F.), Ding, S.Y. (S. Y.), Sun, Y. (Y.), Bottomley, A. (A.), Ianoul, A.I, & Ye, W.N. (2013). Improving photovoltaic devices using silver nanocubes. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. doi:10.1117/12.2002024