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Opt Express. 2012 Sep 10;20 Suppl 5:A694-705. doi: 10.1364/OE.20.00A694.

Simultaneous broadband light trapping and fill factor enhancement in crystalline silicon solar cells induced by Ag nanoparticles and nanoshells.

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Centre for Micro-Photonics, Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, 3122 Victoria, Australia


Crystalline silicon solar cells are predominant and occupying more than 89% of the global solar photovoltaic market. Despite the boom of the innovative solar technologies, few can provide a low-cost radical solution to dramatically boost the efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells, which has reached plateau in the past ten years. Here, we present a novel strategy to simultaneously achieve dramatic enhancement in the short-circuit current and the fill factor through the integration of Ag plasmonic nanoparticles and nanoshells on the antireflection coating and the screen-printed fingers of monocrystalline silicon solar cells, respectively, by a single step and scalable modified electroless displacement method. As a consequence, up to 35.2% enhancement in the energy conversion efficiency has been achieved due to the plasmonic broadband light trapping and the significant reduction in the series resistance. More importantly, this method can further increase the efficiency of the best performing textured solar cells from 18.3% to 19.2%, producing the highest efficiency cells exceeding the state-of-the-art efficiency of the standard screen-printed solar cells. The dual functions of the Ag nanostructures, reported for the first time here, present a clear contrast to the previous works, where plasmonic nanostructures were integrated into solar cells to achieve the short-circuit current enhancement predominately. Our method offers a facile, cost-effective and scalable pathway for metallic nanostructures to be used to dramatically boost the overall efficiency of the optically thick crystalline silicon solar cells.

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