SI nanorod-based thin-film solar cells on glass

31.10.2012, 16:48

Newsletter 5

Advances in nanofabrication, for enhancing the efficiency of optical devices such as solar cells and photo-detectors, have attracted a lot of interest in recent years. A photo-conversion strategy employing nanorods (see figure) has emerged as a powerful way of overcoming some of the limitations of planar wafer-based or thin-film solar cells. But there are also some challenges to be tackled when it comes to putting NR solar cell concepts into practice. In ROD-SOL [details online at], a 10-partner EU-FP7-funded project involving research institutes as well as equipment manufacturers and end-users from six countries, we have managed to realize a semiconductor-insulator-semiconductor solar cell based on Si NRs, no more than 2 ?m in length, currently exhibiting a non-optimized efficiency of ~10%. Taking into account RODSOL manufacturing requirements, benchmarking of production costs has shown that already an efficiency ~15% would make this cell commercially competitive. The figure shows scanning electron micrographs of nanosphere lithography patterning (the polystyrene spheres are yellow) of multi-crystalline silicon layers on glass. The spheres serve as an etching mask for wet or dry etching of Si NRs (red) in the silicon layer.


Contact: silke.christiansen(at)mpl.mpg(dot)de
Group: Photonic Nanostructures TDSU
Reference: S. W. Schmitt et al., Nanolett. 12, 4050-4054 (2012).