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Nat Mater. 2009 Aug;8(8):648-53. doi: 10.1038/nmat2493. Epub 2009 Jul 5.

Three-dimensional nanopillar-array photovoltaics on low-cost and flexible substrates.

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1
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

Abstract

Solar energy represents one of the most abundant and yet least harvested sources of renewable energy. In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in developing photovoltaics that can be potentially mass deployed. Of particular interest to cost-effective solar cells is to use novel device structures and materials processing for enabling acceptable efficiencies. In this regard, here, we report the direct growth of highly regular, single-crystalline nanopillar arrays of optically active semiconductors on aluminium substrates that are then configured as solar-cell modules. As an example, we demonstrate a photovoltaic structure that incorporates three-dimensional, single-crystalline n-CdS nanopillars, embedded in polycrystalline thin films of p-CdTe, to enable high absorption of light and efficient collection of the carriers. Through experiments and modelling, we demonstrate the potency of this approach for enabling highly versatile solar modules on both rigid and flexible substrates with enhanced carrier collection efficiency arising from the geometric configuration of the nanopillars.

PMID:
19578336
DOI:
10.1038/nmat2493

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