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Special Issue "Solar Cells"

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A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2010)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Andrés G. Muñoz (Website)

Present address: Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit GRSmbH, Theodor-Heuss-Straße 4, 38122 Braunschweig, Germany
Fax: +49 (030) 8062 2434
Interests: photovoltaic; charge carrier transport dynamics; solid-state junctions; energy conversion; photovoltaic materials; silicon technology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The special issue Solar Cells is dedicated to recent advances made in basic research and technology of solar energy conversion systems. This issue compiles original and review papers covering a broad interdisciplinary spectrum on topics in solid state photodevices, charge carrier dynamics, new photovoltaic materials, quantum-dots based solar cells, nano-dimensioned photo-structures, mimetic systems, hydrogen photogeneration, organic and exiton solar cells and also innovative systems based on silicon technology.

Dr. Andrés G. Muñoz
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • photovoltaic
  • charge carrier transport dynamics
  • solid-state junctions
  • energy conversion
  • photovoltaic materials
  • silicon technology

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Hybrid Dielectric-Metallic Back Reflector for Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells
Energies 2010, 3(12), 1914-1933; doi:10.3390/en3121914
Received: 19 November 2010 / Accepted: 8 December 2010 / Published: 10 December 2010
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (491 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, we present the design and fabrication of hybrid dielectric-metallic back surface reflectors, for applications in thin film amorphous silicon solar cells. Standard multilayer distributed Bragg reflectors, require a large number of layers in order to achieve high reflectance characteristics. [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present the design and fabrication of hybrid dielectric-metallic back surface reflectors, for applications in thin film amorphous silicon solar cells. Standard multilayer distributed Bragg reflectors, require a large number of layers in order to achieve high reflectance characteristics. As it turns out, the addition of a metallic layer, to the base of such a multilayer mirror, enables a reduction in the number of dielectric layers needed to attain high reflectance performance. This paper explores the design, experimental realization and opportunities, in thin film amorphous silicon solar cells, afforded by such hybrid dielectric-metallic back surface reflectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Fabrication and Characterization of Fullerene-Based Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells with Porphyrin, CuInS2, Diamond and Exciton-Diffusion Blocking Layer
Energies 2010, 3(4), 671-685; doi:10.3390/en3040671
Received: 26 February 2010 / Accepted: 15 March 2010 / Published: 8 April 2010
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (667 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fullerene-based bulk heterojunction solar cells were fabricated, and the electronic and optical properties were investigated. C60 were used as n-type semiconductors, and porphyrin, CuInS2 and diamond were used as p-type semiconductors. An effect of exciton-diffusion blocking layer of perylene derivative [...] Read more.
Fullerene-based bulk heterojunction solar cells were fabricated, and the electronic and optical properties were investigated. C60 were used as n-type semiconductors, and porphyrin, CuInS2 and diamond were used as p-type semiconductors. An effect of exciton-diffusion blocking layer of perylene derivative on the solar cells between active layer and metal layer was also investigated. Optimized structures with the exciton-diffusion blocking layer improved conversion efficiencies. Electronic structures of the molecules were investigated by molecular orbital calculation, and energy levels of the solar cells were discussed. Nanostructures of the solar cells were investigated by transmission electron microscopy, electron diffraction and X-ray diffraction, which indicated formation of mixed nanocrystals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Hybrid Blends for Solar Cell Application
Energies 2010, 3(3), 301-312; doi:10.3390/en3030301
Received: 9 December 2009 / Revised: 22 January 2010 / Accepted: 29 January 2010 / Published: 5 March 2010
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (653 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In blended hybrid systems distinct micro- or nanostructured materials can be formed by phase separation. Network structures of particles or rods in a polymer matrix can be developed via self-assembly. We use this blending approach to compare active materials for application in [...] Read more.
In blended hybrid systems distinct micro- or nanostructured materials can be formed by phase separation. Network structures of particles or rods in a polymer matrix can be developed via self-assembly. We use this blending approach to compare active materials for application in solar cell devices. Blends were fabricated from either poly(hexylthiophene) P3HT or poly(triphenylamine) PTPA mixed with nanocrystalline TiO2 rods. In this manner, we compare two different hole conducting polymers in their performance in photovoltaic devices, while experimental conditions are kept identical. We find that the choice of solvent and photovoltaic characterization conducted in inert atmosphere is of importance for blends prepared from P3HT/TiO2 blends, but not for PTPA/TiO2 blends. Even though prepared with the same TiO2 rods, solar cells prepared from PTPA blends showed an enhanced efficiency when measured under ambient conditions. Furthermore, the PTPA/TiO2 showed higher long-term stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Designs and Architectures for the Next Generation of Organic Solar Cells
Energies 2010, 3(6), 1212-1250; doi:10.3390/en3061212
Received: 5 May 2010 / Accepted: 9 June 2010 / Published: 14 June 2010
Cited by 43 | PDF Full-text (509 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Organic solar cells show great promise as an economically and environmentally friendly technology to utilize solar energy because of their simple fabrication processes and minimal material usage. However, new innovations and breakthroughs are needed for organic solar cell technology to become competitive [...] Read more.
Organic solar cells show great promise as an economically and environmentally friendly technology to utilize solar energy because of their simple fabrication processes and minimal material usage. However, new innovations and breakthroughs are needed for organic solar cell technology to become competitive in the future. This article reviews research efforts and accomplishments focusing on three issues: power conversion efficiency, device stability and processability for mass production, followed by an outlook for optimizing OSC performance through device engineering and new architecture designs to realize next generation organic solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
Open AccessReview Efficiently Harvesting Sun Light for Silicon Solar Cells through Advanced Optical Couplers and A Radial p-n Junction Structure
Energies 2010, 3(4), 784-802; doi:10.3390/en3040784
Received: 29 January 2010 / Revised: 8 March 2010 / Accepted: 12 March 2010 / Published: 20 April 2010
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (1386 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Silicon-based solar cells (SCs) promise to be an alternative energy source mainly due to: (1) a high efficiency-to-cost ratio, (2) the absence of environmental-degradation issues, and (3) great reliability. Transition from wafer-based to thin-film SC significantly reduces the cost of SCs, including [...] Read more.
Silicon-based solar cells (SCs) promise to be an alternative energy source mainly due to: (1) a high efficiency-to-cost ratio, (2) the absence of environmental-degradation issues, and (3) great reliability. Transition from wafer-based to thin-film SC significantly reduces the cost of SCs, including the cost from the material itself and the fabrication process. However, as the thickness of the absorption (or the active) layer decreases, the energy-conversion efficiency drops dramatically. As a consequence, we discuss here three techniques to increase the efficiency of silicon-based SCs: (1) photonic crystal (PC) optical couplers and (2) plasmonic optical couplers to increase efficiency of light absorption in the SCs, and (3) a radial p-n junction structure, decomposing light absorption and diffusion path into two orthogonal directions. The detailed mechanisms and recent research progress regarding these techniques are discussed in this review article. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
Open AccessReview Organic / IV, III-V Semiconductor Hybrid Solar Cells
Energies 2010, 3(3), 313-334; doi:10.3390/en3030313
Received: 30 December 2009 / Revised: 5 February 2010 / Accepted: 5 February 2010 / Published: 5 March 2010
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (1427 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We present a review of the emerging class of hybrid solar cells based on organic-semiconductor (Group IV, III-V), nanocomposites, which states separately from dye synthesized, polymer-metal oxides and organic-inorganic (Group II-VI) nanocomposite photovoltaics. The structure of such hybrid cell comprises of an [...] Read more.
We present a review of the emerging class of hybrid solar cells based on organic-semiconductor (Group IV, III-V), nanocomposites, which states separately from dye synthesized, polymer-metal oxides and organic-inorganic (Group II-VI) nanocomposite photovoltaics. The structure of such hybrid cell comprises of an organic active material (p-type) deposited by coating, printing or spraying technique on the surface of bulk or nanostructured semiconductor (n-type) forming a heterojunction between the two materials. Organic components include various photosensitive monomers (e.g., phtalocyanines or porphyrines), conjugated polymers, and carbon nanotubes. Mechanisms of the charge separation at the interface and their transport are discussed. Also, perspectives on the future development of such hybrid cells and comparative analysis with other classes of photovoltaics of third generation are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
Open AccessReview Complex Nanostructures: Synthesis and Energetic Applications
Energies 2010, 3(3), 285-300; doi:10.3390/en3030285
Received: 28 December 2009 / Accepted: 3 February 2010 / Published: 26 February 2010
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (2846 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Connected through single crystalline junctions, low dimensional materials such as nanowires and nanorods form complex nanostructures. These new materials exhibit mechanical strengths and electrical conductivities superior to their constituents while maintaining comparable surface areas, an attribute ideal for energetic applications. More efficient [...] Read more.
Connected through single crystalline junctions, low dimensional materials such as nanowires and nanorods form complex nanostructures. These new materials exhibit mechanical strengths and electrical conductivities superior to their constituents while maintaining comparable surface areas, an attribute ideal for energetic applications. More efficient solar cells, higher capacity batteries and better performing photoelectrochemical cells have been built using these materials. This article reviews this exciting new class of materials and covers topics from controlled syntheses to applications in photovoltaics, chemical energy conversion and electrical charge storage. Mechanisms responsible for the improved performance are discussed. The prospect of their applications in a broader energy-related field is analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
Open AccessReview Spectrally-Selective Photonic Structures for PV Applications
Energies 2010, 3(2), 171-193; doi:10.3390/en3020171
Received: 24 November 2009 / Accepted: 20 January 2010 / Published: 27 January 2010
Cited by 29 | PDF Full-text (2318 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We review several examples of how spectrally-selective photonic structures may be used to improve solar cell systems. Firstly, we introduce different spectrally-selective structures that are based on interference effects. Examples shown include Rugate filter, edge filter and 3D photonic crystals such as [...] Read more.
We review several examples of how spectrally-selective photonic structures may be used to improve solar cell systems. Firstly, we introduce different spectrally-selective structures that are based on interference effects. Examples shown include Rugate filter, edge filter and 3D photonic crystals such as artificial opals. In the second part, we discuss several examples of photovoltaic (PV) concepts that utilize spectral selectivity such as fluorescence collectors, upconversion systems, spectrum splitting concepts and the intermediate reflector concept. The potential of spectrally selective filters in the context of solar cells is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
Open AccessReview Energy Storage in Bifunctional TiO2 Composite Materials under UV and Visible Light
Energies 2009, 2(4), 1009-1030; doi:10.3390/en20401009
Received: 30 September 2009 / Accepted: 28 October 2009 / Published: 6 November 2009
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (781 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper provides an overview of recent studies on energy storage in bifunctional TiO2 composite materials under UV and visible light. The working mechanism, property improvements and applications of these bifunctional TiO2 composite systems are introduced, respectively. The latest results [...] Read more.
This paper provides an overview of recent studies on energy storage in bifunctional TiO2 composite materials under UV and visible light. The working mechanism, property improvements and applications of these bifunctional TiO2 composite systems are introduced, respectively. The latest results obtained in our laboratory, especially a new process for photoelectric conversion and energy storage in TiO2/Cu2O bilayer films under visible light, are also presented. Hopefully this review will stimulate more fundamental and applied research on this subject in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
Open AccessReview A Review of Ultrahigh Efficiency III-V Semiconductor Compound Solar Cells: Multijunction Tandem, Lower Dimensional, Photonic Up/Down Conversion and Plasmonic Nanometallic Structures
Energies 2009, 2(3), 504-530; doi:10.3390/en20300504
Received: 26 June 2009 / Revised: 7 July 2009 / Accepted: 7 July 2009 / Published: 13 July 2009
Cited by 58 | PDF Full-text (699 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Solar cells are a promising renewable, carbon-free electric energy resource to address the fossil fuel shortage and global warming. Energy conversion efficiencies around 40% have been recently achieved in laboratories using III-V semiconductor compounds as photovoltaic materials. This article reviews the efforts [...] Read more.
Solar cells are a promising renewable, carbon-free electric energy resource to address the fossil fuel shortage and global warming. Energy conversion efficiencies around 40% have been recently achieved in laboratories using III-V semiconductor compounds as photovoltaic materials. This article reviews the efforts and accomplishments made for higher efficiency III-V semiconductor compound solar cells, specifically with multijunction tandem, lower-dimensional, photonic up/down conversion, and plasmonic metallic structures. Technological strategies for further performance improvement from the most efficient (Al)InGaP/(In)GaAs/Ge triple-junction cells including the search for 1.0 eV bandgap semiconductors are discussed. Lower-dimensional systems such as quantum well and dot structures are being intensively studied to realize multiple exciton generation and multiple photon absorption to break the conventional efficiency limit. Implementation of plasmonic metallic nanostructures manipulating photonic energy flow directions to enhance sunlight absorption in thin photovoltaic semiconductor materials is also emerging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Cells)
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