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Nano Lett. 2013 Jan 9;13(1):95-9. doi: 10.1021/nl3035652. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

Record high efficiency single-walled carbon nanotube/silicon p-n junction solar cells.

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  • 1Department of Electrical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Carrier transport characteristics in high-efficiency single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs)/silicon (Si) hybrid solar cells are presented. The solar cells were fabricated by depositing intrinsic p-type SWNT thin-films on n-type Si wafers without involving any high-temperature process for p-n junction formation. The optimized cells showed a device ideality factor close to unity and a record-high power-conversion-efficiency of >11%. By investigating the dark forward current density characteristics with varying temperature, we have identified that the temperature-dependent current rectification originates from the thermally activated band-to-band transition of carriers in Si, and the role of the SWNT thin films is to establish a built-in potential for carrier separation/collection. We have also established that the dominant carrier transport mechanism is diffusion, with minimal interface recombination. This is further supported by the observation of a long minority carrier lifetime of ~34 μs, determined by the transient recovery method. This study suggests that these hybrid solar cells operate in the same manner as single crystalline p-n homojunction Si solar cells.

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