Colloidal-lithographed TiO2 photonic nanostructures for solar cell light trapping

Olalla Sanchez-Sobrado, Manuel J. Mendes, Sirazul Haque, Tiago Mateus, Andreia Araujo, Hugo Aguas, Elvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Dielectric-based photonic structures, composed of a lossless but high refractive index material, are currently among the preferential solutions for light management in thin film photovoltaics, as they allow broadband manipulation of sunlight to strongly boost the absorptance in the thin solar cell layers. In this work, we present an innovative colloidal lithography nanofabrication method that allows the precise engineering of wavelength-sized features, with the materials and geometries appropriate for efficient light trapping when implemented on the front surface of the cells. The method is developed here with TiO2 nanostructures tested on amorphous-silicon absorber thin films coated on the rear side by a metallic reflector. It is a simple, low-cost and scalable approach consisting of 4 main steps: (1) deposition of periodic close-packed arrays of polystyrene colloids which act as the mask; (2) shaping the particles and increasing their spacing via dry etching; (3) infiltration of TiO2 into the inter-particle spaces and (4) removal of the polystyrene particles to leave only the structured TiO2 layer. The resultant array of wavelength-sized features acts as a nanostructured high-index anti-reflection coating, which not only suppresses the reflected light at short wavelengths but also increases the optical path length of the longer wavelengths, via light scattering, within the absorber. The optical results have been compared with numerical electromagnetic computations to provide a deeper understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for absorptance enhancement in the cells. A notorious 27.3% enhancement in the cell photocurrent is anticipated with the fabricated structures, relative to conventional anti-reflection coatings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6852-6861
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
Volume5
Issue number27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

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Photonics
Nanostructures
Solar cells
Wavelength
Antireflection coatings
Polystyrenes
Thin films
Dry etching
Colloids
Amorphous silicon
Photocurrents
Nanotechnology
Infiltration
Light scattering
Lithography
Masks
Refractive index
Geometry
Costs

Keywords

  • NANOPARTICLES
  • TEMPERATURE
  • PATTERNS

Cite this

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title = "Colloidal-lithographed TiO2 photonic nanostructures for solar cell light trapping",
abstract = "Dielectric-based photonic structures, composed of a lossless but high refractive index material, are currently among the preferential solutions for light management in thin film photovoltaics, as they allow broadband manipulation of sunlight to strongly boost the absorptance in the thin solar cell layers. In this work, we present an innovative colloidal lithography nanofabrication method that allows the precise engineering of wavelength-sized features, with the materials and geometries appropriate for efficient light trapping when implemented on the front surface of the cells. The method is developed here with TiO2 nanostructures tested on amorphous-silicon absorber thin films coated on the rear side by a metallic reflector. It is a simple, low-cost and scalable approach consisting of 4 main steps: (1) deposition of periodic close-packed arrays of polystyrene colloids which act as the mask; (2) shaping the particles and increasing their spacing via dry etching; (3) infiltration of TiO2 into the inter-particle spaces and (4) removal of the polystyrene particles to leave only the structured TiO2 layer. The resultant array of wavelength-sized features acts as a nanostructured high-index anti-reflection coating, which not only suppresses the reflected light at short wavelengths but also increases the optical path length of the longer wavelengths, via light scattering, within the absorber. The optical results have been compared with numerical electromagnetic computations to provide a deeper understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for absorptance enhancement in the cells. A notorious 27.3{\%} enhancement in the cell photocurrent is anticipated with the fabricated structures, relative to conventional anti-reflection coatings.",
keywords = "NANOPARTICLES, TEMPERATURE, PATTERNS",
author = "Olalla Sanchez-Sobrado and Mendes, {Manuel J.} and Sirazul Haque and Tiago Mateus and Andreia Araujo and Hugo Aguas and Elvira Fortunato and Rodrigo Martins",
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Colloidal-lithographed TiO2 photonic nanostructures for solar cell light trapping. / Sanchez-Sobrado, Olalla; Mendes, Manuel J.; Haque, Sirazul; Mateus, Tiago; Araujo, Andreia; Aguas, Hugo; Fortunato, Elvira; Martins, Rodrigo.

In: Journal of Materials Chemistry C, Vol. 5, No. 27, 01.01.2017, p. 6852-6861.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Colloidal-lithographed TiO2 photonic nanostructures for solar cell light trapping

AU - Sanchez-Sobrado, Olalla

AU - Mendes, Manuel J.

AU - Haque, Sirazul

AU - Mateus, Tiago

AU - Araujo, Andreia

AU - Aguas, Hugo

AU - Fortunato, Elvira

AU - Martins, Rodrigo

N1 - sem pdf conforme despacho. FEDER funds through the COMPETE 2020 Programme and National Funds through FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) under the projects UID/CTM/50025/2013 and ALTALUZ (PTDC/CTM-ENE/5125/2014). M.J. Mendes acknowledges funding by the EU FP7 Marie Curie Action FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IEF through the DIELECTRIC PV project (Grant No. 629370).

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N2 - Dielectric-based photonic structures, composed of a lossless but high refractive index material, are currently among the preferential solutions for light management in thin film photovoltaics, as they allow broadband manipulation of sunlight to strongly boost the absorptance in the thin solar cell layers. In this work, we present an innovative colloidal lithography nanofabrication method that allows the precise engineering of wavelength-sized features, with the materials and geometries appropriate for efficient light trapping when implemented on the front surface of the cells. The method is developed here with TiO2 nanostructures tested on amorphous-silicon absorber thin films coated on the rear side by a metallic reflector. It is a simple, low-cost and scalable approach consisting of 4 main steps: (1) deposition of periodic close-packed arrays of polystyrene colloids which act as the mask; (2) shaping the particles and increasing their spacing via dry etching; (3) infiltration of TiO2 into the inter-particle spaces and (4) removal of the polystyrene particles to leave only the structured TiO2 layer. The resultant array of wavelength-sized features acts as a nanostructured high-index anti-reflection coating, which not only suppresses the reflected light at short wavelengths but also increases the optical path length of the longer wavelengths, via light scattering, within the absorber. The optical results have been compared with numerical electromagnetic computations to provide a deeper understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for absorptance enhancement in the cells. A notorious 27.3% enhancement in the cell photocurrent is anticipated with the fabricated structures, relative to conventional anti-reflection coatings.

AB - Dielectric-based photonic structures, composed of a lossless but high refractive index material, are currently among the preferential solutions for light management in thin film photovoltaics, as they allow broadband manipulation of sunlight to strongly boost the absorptance in the thin solar cell layers. In this work, we present an innovative colloidal lithography nanofabrication method that allows the precise engineering of wavelength-sized features, with the materials and geometries appropriate for efficient light trapping when implemented on the front surface of the cells. The method is developed here with TiO2 nanostructures tested on amorphous-silicon absorber thin films coated on the rear side by a metallic reflector. It is a simple, low-cost and scalable approach consisting of 4 main steps: (1) deposition of periodic close-packed arrays of polystyrene colloids which act as the mask; (2) shaping the particles and increasing their spacing via dry etching; (3) infiltration of TiO2 into the inter-particle spaces and (4) removal of the polystyrene particles to leave only the structured TiO2 layer. The resultant array of wavelength-sized features acts as a nanostructured high-index anti-reflection coating, which not only suppresses the reflected light at short wavelengths but also increases the optical path length of the longer wavelengths, via light scattering, within the absorber. The optical results have been compared with numerical electromagnetic computations to provide a deeper understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for absorptance enhancement in the cells. A notorious 27.3% enhancement in the cell photocurrent is anticipated with the fabricated structures, relative to conventional anti-reflection coatings.

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