Development of Plasmonic Nanoscatterers: An Innovative Approach to Devise Efficient Thin Film Solar Cell

Project: Research

Project Details


Plasmonics has been expected long to contribute huge in enhancing solar light harvesting, but persistence challenges are there such as fabrication and incorporation of such plasmon-active layer in appropriate dimensions that have come up on surface and hindered the progress. For a reliable transformation of renewable energy, particularly solar energy to the total energy mix, it is inevitable to reduce the cost, both materials and process costs, along with higher efficiency. Compared to conventional and traditional Silicon based solar cell, thin film solar cell, in particular, plasmonic solar cell has been recognised as potential technology to reduce the cost and increase efficiency using light trapping scenario. Plasmonics is defined as the excitations of conduction electrons at the interface or surface of the nanoscatterers. Such arrangement of plasmonic-active layer induces light trapping and thus efficiency gets enhanced. In addition, polariton modes and energy localizations enhanced exciton generation and collection in solar cell. Nevertheless, there are consistence challenges how to embed such nanostructures without affecting other associate layers. Several techniques have been reported so far, such wet chemical method, laser ablation method, physical vapour method, lithography, etc. However, nanostructures position and dimensions is very critical to control in most of the techniques. Apart from cost reduction and increased efficiency, it is equally important to understand excitation generation and collection characteristics of such solar cell as well as to devise a way to fabricate effective plasmonic layer in different configuration of solar cell. Here in this proposed work, Silicon based plasmonic solar cell will be demonstrated in three steps keeping in mind to reduce cost and increase efficiency. In step 1, we have devised an innovative approach to develop plasmonic nanoscatterers as plasmonic layer within thin film solar cell following revised and improvised version of recent patents granted to CoRERE. An ultrathin layer of plasmonic metal such as silver (Ag) will be deposited and treated under optimized condition to achieve a layer consists of Ag nanoparticles. Structural, optical and opto-electrical properties of as-fabricated layer will be characterized. It is important to know the stability and inherent properties of as-fabricated layer prior to applications. Since size, shape and interparticle distance paly vital role in plasmonic thin film solar cell, the experimental condition will be optimized to identify the best structure suitable for thin film solar cell. Extensive simulation and investigation will be carried out to understand optical and electrical characteristics of such layer for best performance in step 2. In step 3, a proto-type module including such plasmonic layer will be designed and assessed thereafter. The current proposal bears great potential to uplift Center of Research Excellence in Renewable Energy (CORERE) as well as King Fahd University of Petroleum (KFUPM) towards a reliable transmission of renewable energy as expected and mentioned in the Vision 2030 of the Kingdom. Some members of the team are well trained in solar cells research including thin film fabrication and simulation at the CoRERE while the others are capable to material synthesis and characterizations. The facilities and resources available at CORERE will be in great support for the successful accomplishment of the proposal. The know-how and knowledge learned from this project would be in great help to develop further avenues to improve other kinds of existing photovoltaic technologies as well as local experts to work in this focused area of research.
Effective start/end date1/09/201/09/23


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