23 September 2016 Tuning the colors of c-Si solar cells by exploiting plasmonic effects
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The color of a crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell is mainly determined by its anti-reflective coating. This is a lambda/4 coating made from a transparent dielectric material. The thickness of the anti-reflective coating is optimized for maximal photocurrent generation, resulting in the typical blue or black colors of c-Si solar cells. However, for building-integrated photovoltaic (BiPV) applications the color of the solar cells is demanded to be tunable – ideally by a cheap and flexible coating process on standard (low cost) c-Si solar cells. Such a coating can be realized by applying plasmonic coloring which is a rapidly growing technology for high-quality color filtering and rendering for different fields of application (displays, imaging,…).

In this contribution, we present results of an approach for tuning the color of standard industrial c-Si solar cells that is based on coating them with metallic nano-particles. In particular, thin films (< 20 nm) of a metal (e.g., silver) were sputtered onto c-Si solar cells and thermally annealed subsequently. The sizes and the shapes of the nano-particles (characterized by SEM) were found to depend on the thickness of the deposited films and the surface roughness of the substrates/solar cells. With such an approach it is possible to tune the color of the standard c-Si cells from blue to green and brownish/red. The position of the resonance peak in the reflection spectrum was found to be almost independent from the angle of incidence. This low angular sensitivity is a clear advantage compared to alternative color tuning methods, for which additional dielectric thin films are deposited on c-Si solar cells.
Conference Presentation
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G. Peharz, B. Grosschädl, C. Prietl, W. Waldhauser, F. P. Wenzl, "Tuning the colors of c-Si solar cells by exploiting plasmonic effects", Proc. SPIE 9937, Next Generation Technologies for Solar Energy Conversion VII, 99370P (23 September 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2237754; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2237754

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