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Fabrication of Ag Nanoparticles Embedded in Al: ZnO as Potential Light-Trapping Plasmonic Interface for Thin Film Solar Cells

2013
Plasmonics, 11 April 2013; DOI 10.1007/s11468-013-9562-6
Hisham Nasser, Zaki M. Saleh, Engin Özkol, Mete Günoven, Alpan Bek & Raşit Turan
Incident photon conversion efficiency of the absorbing materials at either side of a thin film solar module can be enhanced by integrating a plasmonic interface. Silver nanoparticles represent a good candidate that can be integrated to a thin film solar cell for efficient light-trapping. The aim of this work is to fabricate plasmonically active interface consisting of Ag nanoparticles embedded in Al:ZnO that has the potential to be used at the front surface
and at the back reflector of a thin film solar cell to enhance light-trapping and increase the photoconversion efficiency. We show that Ag can readily dewet the Al:ZnO surface when annealed at temperatures significantly lower than the melting temperature of Ag, which is beneficial for lowering the thermal budget and cost in solar cell fabrication. We find that such an interface fabricated by a simple dewetting technique leads to plasmonic resonance in the visible and near infrared regions of the solar spectrum, which is important in enhancing the conversion efficiency of thin film solar cells.