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Open Access Nano Express

Amorphous silicon nanocone array solar cell

Subramani Thiyagu, Zingway Pei* and Ming-Sian Jhong

Author Affiliations

Graduate Institute of Optoelectronic Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, 40227, Taiwan, Republic of China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:172  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-172

Published: 6 March 2012

Abstract

In the hydrogenated amorphous silicon [a-Si:H]-thin film solar cell, large amounts of traps reduce the carrier's lifetime that limit the photovoltaic performance, especially the power conversion efficiency. The nanowire structure is proposed to solve the low efficiency problem. In this work, we propose an amorphous silicon [a-Si]-solar cell with a nanocone array structure were implemented by reactive-ion etching through a polystyrene nanosphere template. The amorphous-Si nanocone exhibits absorption coefficient around 5 × 105/cm which is similar to the planar a-Si:H layer in our study. The nanostructure could provide the efficient carrier collection. Owing to the better carrier collection efficiency, efficiency of a-Si solar cell was increased from 1.43% to 1.77% by adding the nanocone structure which has 24% enhancement. Further passivation of the a-Si:H surface by hydrogen plasma treatment and an additional 10-nm intrinsic-a-Si:H layer, the efficiency could further increase to 2.2%, which is 54% enhanced as compared to the planar solar cell. The input-photon-to-current conversion efficiency spectrum indicates the efficient carrier collection from 300 to 800 nm of incident light.

Keywords:
Nanocone; amorphous silicon; solar cell