Performance Enhancement of Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells by Coating with Luminescent Silicon Nanostructures
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In this work we report a technique that is potentially capable of increasing the efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells, which dominate the present-day market of photovoltaic devices. The simple and cost-effective method involves coating the surface of a commercially procured silicon solar cell with luminescent silicon nanocrystals. Core/shell silicon/silicon-oxide nanostructures are fabricated by an inexpensive and reproducible technique, where coarse silicon powders are repeatedly milled, oxidized, and etched until their sizes are reduced so as to exhibit room-temperature photoluminescence under ultraviolet excitation. A thin coating of these nanostructures on a standard solar cell, obtained by a simple dip-coating method, increases the open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current, which consequently increases the maximum power delivered by ~16.3% and efficiency by almost ∼39%. We propose that the core/shell nanostructures act as luminescent convertors that convert higher-energy photons to lower-energy photons, thereby leading to less thermal relaxation loss of photoexcited carriers.
KeywordsCore/shell silicon/silicon-oxide nanostructures photoluminescence luminescent convertors solar cell
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