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Black silicon can take efficiency of solar cells to new levels

Date:
January 18, 2013
Source:
Aalto University
Summary:
Scientists have demonstrated results that show a huge improvement in the light absorption and the surface passivation on silicon nanostructures. This has been achieved by applying atomic layer coating. The results advance the development of devices that require high sensitivity light response such as high efficiency solar cells.

Scientists at Aalto University have demonstrated results that show a huge improvement in the light absorption and the surface passivation of silicon nanostructures
Credit: Image courtesy of Aalto University

Scientists at Aalto University, Finland, have demonstrated results that show a huge improvement in the light absorption and the surface passivation on silicon nanostructures. This has been achieved by applying atomic layer coating. The results advance the development of devices that require high sensitivity light response such as high efficiency solar cells.

"This method provides extremely good surface passivation. Simultaneously, it reduces the reflectance further at all wavelengths. These results are very promising considering the use of black silicon (b-Si) surfaces on solar cells to increase the efficiency to completely new levels," said Päivikki Repo, a researcher at Aalto University.

More effective surface passivation methods than those used in the past have been needed to make black silicon a viable material for commercial applications. Good surface passivation is crucial in photonic applications such as solar cells. So far, the poor charge carrier transport properties attributed to nanostructured surfaces have been more detrimental for the final device operation than the gain obtained from the reduced reflectance.

Black silicon can also be used in other technologies than solar cells. Numerous applications suggested for b-Si include drug analysis.

Black silicon (b-Si) has been a subject of great interest in various fields including photovoltaics for its ability to reduce the surface reflectance even below 1 per cent. However, many b-Si applications -- especially solar cells -- suffer from increased surface recombination resulting in poor spectral response. This is particularly problematic at short wavelengths.

The research has just been published in the Journal of Photovoltaics. The research is carried out by Aalto University, Finland, together with experts from Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aalto University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Päivikki Repo, Antti Haarahiltunen, Lauri Sainiemi, Marko Yli-Koski, Heli Talvitie, Martin C. Schubert, Hele Savin. Effective Passivation of Black Silicon Surfaces by Atomic Layer Deposition. IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, 2013; 3 (1): 90 DOI: 10.1109/JPHOTOV.2012.2210031

Cite This Page:

Aalto University. "Black silicon can take efficiency of solar cells to new levels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130118064723.htm>.
Aalto University. (2013, January 18). Black silicon can take efficiency of solar cells to new levels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130118064723.htm
Aalto University. "Black silicon can take efficiency of solar cells to new levels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130118064723.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

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