Plasmonic Near-Field Absorbers for Ultrathin Solar Cells
Journal article, 2012
If the active layer of efficient solar cells could be made 100 times thinner than in today's thin film devices, their economic competitiveness would greatly benefit. However, conventional solar cell materials do not have the optical capability to allow for such thickness reductions without a substantial loss of light absorption. To address this challenge, the use of plasmon resonances in metal nanostructures to trap light and create charge carriers in a nearby semiconductor material is an interesting opportunity. In this Perspective, recent progress with regards to ultrathin (similar to 10 nm) plasmonic nanocomposites is reviewed. Their optimal internal geometry for plasmon near-field induced absorption is discussed, and a zero thickness effective medium representation is used to optimize stacks including an Al back reflector for photovoltaics. This shows that high conversion efficiencies (>20%) are possible even when taking surface scattering effects and thin passivating layers inserted between the metal and semiconductor into account.
atomic layer deposition