Open Access Nano Express

a-Si:H/SiNW shell/core for SiNW solar cell applications

Eman Sad Ashour12*, Mohamad Yusof Bin Sulaiman2, Mohd Hafidz Ruslan2 and Kamaruzzaman Sopian2

Author affiliations

1 Department of Physics, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi 43600, Malaysia

2 Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi 43600, Malaysia

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:466  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-466

Published: 6 November 2013


Vertically aligned silicon nanowires have been synthesized by the chemical etching of silicon wafers. The influence of a hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) layer (shell) on top of a silicon nanowire (SiNW) solar cell has been investigated. The optical properties of a-Si:H/SiNWs and SiNWs are examined in terms of optical reflection and absorption properties. In the presence of the a-Si:H shell, 5.2% reflection ratio in the spectral range (250 to 1,000 nm) is achieved with a superior absorption property with an average over 87% of the incident light. In addition, the characteristics of the solar cell have been significantly improved, which exhibits higher open-circuit voltage, short-circuit current, and efficiency by more than 15%, 12%, and 37%, respectively, compared with planar SiNW solar cells. Based on the current–voltage measurements and morphology results, we show that the a-Si:H shell can passivate the defects generated by wet etching processes.

Silicon nanowire; Solar cells; a-Si:H; Antireflection coating; Metal-assisted wet chemical etching; PECVD