A novel light trapping approach will be developed to enhance the absorption of thin film silicon (Si) solar cells using periodic arrangements of resonant dielectric micro-particles (DMPs) with dimensions on the other of the illuminating wavelengths. The main goal is to construct prototype cells that show enhanced sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency due to the action of DMP arrays incorporated on their transparent top contact.
The strategy investigated here deals with advanced optical concepts that allow the manipulation and concentration of light in ways that can greatly surpass conventional geometrical optics or sub-wavelength plasmonics, by employing wavelength-sized dielectric scatterers. Therefore, the results of this work should not only broaden the understanding of the scientific community in the field of physical optics, but also foster the interest of the photovoltaics community towards light trapping with DMPs, a topic that is currently still under germination.
The project will involve computational and experimental work executed in parallel in the Portuguese host institution CENIMAT-I3N, a world-renowned nanotechnology center in the area of functional materials. The computational studies will be performed using a finite-elements-method software (COMSOL) to optimize the physical parameters of the DMPs that allow maximum photocurrent enhancement in the Si cell material. The DMP structures will be then fabricated in laboratory using colloidal self-assembly combined with lithographic processes, and implemented in solar cells grown by plasmon-enhanced chemical vapor deposition.
The work will be performed in close collaboration with the Italian institute IMM-CNR, a top microelectronics center where the candidate is currently working as a Marie Curie ITN Experienced Researcher. Therefore, the project shall nourish a new partnership between CENIMAT and IMM which is likely to be extended to other research and industrial partners in the European Union.
Field of science
- /humanities/arts/modern and contemporary art/film
- /natural sciences/physical sciences/optics
- /natural sciences/chemical sciences/inorganic chemistry/inorganic compounds
- /natural sciences/computer and information sciences/software
- /engineering and technology/nanotechnology
- /natural sciences/physical sciences/electromagnetism and electronics/microelectronics
- /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/renewable energy/solar energy
Call for proposal
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