Special Issue "Nanostructured Materials for Solar Cell Applications"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Solar Energy and Solar Cells".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Katsuaki Tanabe
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering, Kyoto University, Kyoto 615-8510, Japan
Interests: metals; semiconductors; hydrogen; surfaces and interfaces; optoelectronics; plasmonics; nanomaterials; nuclear materials; thermodynamics; energy conversion

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The use of nanomaterials in technologies for photovoltaic applications continues to represent an important area of research. There are numerous mechanisms by which the incorporation of nanomaterials can improve device performance. We invite authors to contribute original research articles or comprehensive review articles covering the most recent progress and new developments in the design and utilization of nanomaterials for highly efficient, novel devices relevant to solar cell applications. This special issue aims to cover a broad range of subjects, from nanomaterials synthesis to the design and characterization of photovoltaic devices and technologies with nanomaterial integration. The format of welcomed articles includes full papers, communications, and reviews.

Prof. Dr. Katsuaki Tanabe
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • photovoltaics and photocatalysts
  • nanomaterials, nanostructures, and nanophotonics
  • quantum wells, wires, and dots
  • photonic and plasmonic nanostructures
  • surfaces and interfaces
  • nanoscale fabrication and characterization technologies

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Nanostructure of Porous Si and Anodic SiO2 Surface Passivation for Improved Efficiency Porous Si Solar Cells
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(2), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11020459 - 11 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 978
Abstract
The photovoltaic effect in the anodic formation of silicon dioxide (SiO2) on porous silicon (PS) surfaces was investigated toward developing a potential passivation technique to achieve high efficiency nanostructured Si solar cells. The PS layers were prepared by electrochemical anodization in [...] Read more.
The photovoltaic effect in the anodic formation of silicon dioxide (SiO2) on porous silicon (PS) surfaces was investigated toward developing a potential passivation technique to achieve high efficiency nanostructured Si solar cells. The PS layers were prepared by electrochemical anodization in hydrofluoric acid (HF) containing electrolyte. An anodic SiO2 layer was formed on the PS surface via a bottom-up anodization mechanism in HCl/H2O solution at room temperature. The thickness of the oxide layer for surface passivation was precisely controlled by adjusting the anodizing current density and the passivation time, for optimal oxidation on the PS layer while maintaining its original nanostructure. HRTEM characterization of the microstructure of the PS layer confirms an atomic lattice matching at the PS/Si interface. The dependence of photovoltaic performance, series resistance, and shunt resistance on passivation time was examined. Due to sufficient passivation on the PS surface, a sample with anodization duration of 30 s achieved the best conversion efficiency of 10.7%. The external quantum efficiency (EQE) and internal quantum efficiency (IQE) indicate a significant decrease in reflectivity due to the PS anti-reflection property and indicate superior performance due to SiO2 surface passivation. In conclusion, the surface of PS solar cells could be successfully passivated by electrochemical anodization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Solar Cell Applications)
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Article
Temperature Dependence of Carrier Extraction Processes in GaSb/AlGaAs Quantum Nanostructure Intermediate-Band Solar Cells
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(2), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11020344 - 29 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 786
Abstract
From the viewpoint of band engineering, the use of GaSb quantum nanostructures is expected to lead to highly efficient intermediate-band solar cells (IBSCs). In IBSCs, current generation via two-step optical excitations through the intermediate band is the key to the operating principle. This [...] Read more.
From the viewpoint of band engineering, the use of GaSb quantum nanostructures is expected to lead to highly efficient intermediate-band solar cells (IBSCs). In IBSCs, current generation via two-step optical excitations through the intermediate band is the key to the operating principle. This mechanism requires the formation of a strong quantum confinement structure. Therefore, we focused on the material system with GaSb quantum nanostructures embedded in AlGaAs layers. However, studies involving crystal growth of GaSb quantum nanostructures on AlGaAs layers have rarely been reported. In our work, we fabricated GaSb quantum dots (QDs) and quantum rings (QRs) on AlGaAs layers via molecular-beam epitaxy. Using the Stranski–Krastanov growth mode, we demonstrated that lens-shaped GaSb QDs can be fabricated on AlGaAs layers. In addition, atomic force microscopy measurements revealed that GaSb QDs could be changed to QRs under irradiation with an As molecular beam even when they were deposited onto AlGaAs layers. We also investigated the suitability of GaSb/AlGaAs QDSCs and QRSCs for use in IBSCs by evaluating the temperature characteristics of their external quantum efficiency. For the GaSb/AlGaAs material system, the QDSC was found to have slightly better two-step optical excitation temperature characteristics than the QRSC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Solar Cell Applications)
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Article
Titanium Dioxide-Coated Zinc Oxide Nanorods as an Efficient Photoelectrode in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(8), 1598; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10081598 - 14 Aug 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 947
Abstract
Well-arrayed zinc oxide nanorods applied as photoelectrodes for dye-sensitized solar cells were synthesized on an aluminum-doped zinc oxide substrate by the multi-annealing method. In order to improve the chemical stability and surface-to-volume ratio of photoanodes in dye-sensitized solar cells, the synthesized zinc oxide [...] Read more.
Well-arrayed zinc oxide nanorods applied as photoelectrodes for dye-sensitized solar cells were synthesized on an aluminum-doped zinc oxide substrate by the multi-annealing method. In order to improve the chemical stability and surface-to-volume ratio of photoanodes in dye-sensitized solar cells, the synthesized zinc oxide nanorods were coated with pure anatase phase titanium dioxide film using a novel mist chemical vapor deposition method. The effects of the titanium dioxide film on the morphological, structural, optical, and photovoltaic properties of zinc oxide–titanium dioxide core–shell nanorods were investigated. It was found that the diameter and surface-to-volume ratio of zinc oxide nanorods were significantly increased by coating them with titanium dioxide thin film. The power conversion efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells was improved from 1.31% to 2.68% by coating titanium dioxide film onto the surface of zinc oxide nanorods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Solar Cell Applications)
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Article
Arrays of Plasmonic Nanostructures for Absorption Enhancement in Perovskite Thin Films
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(7), 1342; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10071342 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1034
Abstract
We report optical characterization and theoretical simulation of plasmon enhanced methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI 3 ) thin-film perovskite solar cells. Specifically, various nanohole (NH) and nanodisk (ND) arrays are fabricated on gold/MAPbI 3 interfaces. Significant absorption enhancement is observed experimentally in 75 nm [...] Read more.
We report optical characterization and theoretical simulation of plasmon enhanced methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI 3 ) thin-film perovskite solar cells. Specifically, various nanohole (NH) and nanodisk (ND) arrays are fabricated on gold/MAPbI 3 interfaces. Significant absorption enhancement is observed experimentally in 75 nm and 110 nm-thick perovskite films. As a result of increased light scattering by plasmonic concentrators, the original Fabry–Pérot thin-film cavity effects are suppressed in specific structures. However, thanks to field enhancement caused by plasmonic resonances and in-plane interference of propagating surface plasmon polaritons, the calculated overall power conversion efficiency (PCE) of the solar cell is expected to increase by up to 45.5%, compared to its flat counterpart. The role of different geometry parameters of the nanostructure arrays is further investigated using three dimensional (3D) finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations, which makes it possible to identify the physical origin of the absorption enhancement as a function of wavelength and design parameters. These findings demonstrate the potential of plasmonic nanostructures in further enhancing the performance of photovoltaic devices based on thin-film perovskites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Solar Cell Applications)
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Article
Transparent Platinum Counter Electrode Prepared by Polyol Reduction for Bifacial, Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(3), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10030502 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1145
Abstract
Pt catalytic nanoparticles on F-doped SnO2/glass substrates were prepared by polyol reduction below 200 °C. The polyol reduction resulted in better transparency of the counter electrode and high power-conversion efficiency (PCE) of the resultant dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) compared to conventional [...] Read more.
Pt catalytic nanoparticles on F-doped SnO2/glass substrates were prepared by polyol reduction below 200 °C. The polyol reduction resulted in better transparency of the counter electrode and high power-conversion efficiency (PCE) of the resultant dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) compared to conventional thermal reduction. The PCEs of the DSSCs with 5 μm-thick TiO2 photoanodes were 6.55% and 5.01% under front and back illumination conditions, respectively. The back/front efficiency ratio is very promising for efficient bifacial DSSCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Solar Cell Applications)
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Article
Improvement of Exciton Collection and Light-Harvesting Range in Ternary Blend Polymer Solar Cells Based on Two Non-Fullerene Acceptors
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(2), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10020241 - 29 Jan 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1405
Abstract
A non-fullerene molecule named Y6 was incorporated into a binary blend of PBDB-T and IT-M to further enhance photon harvesting in the near-infrared (near-IR) region. Compared with PBDB-T/IT-M binary blend devices, PBDB-T/IT-M/Y6 ternary blend devices exhibited an improved short-circuit current density (J [...] Read more.
A non-fullerene molecule named Y6 was incorporated into a binary blend of PBDB-T and IT-M to further enhance photon harvesting in the near-infrared (near-IR) region. Compared with PBDB-T/IT-M binary blend devices, PBDB-T/IT-M/Y6 ternary blend devices exhibited an improved short-circuit current density (JSC) from 15.34 to 19.09 mA cm−2. As a result, the power conversion efficiency (PCE) increased from 10.65% to 12.50%. With an increasing weight ratio of Y6, the external quantum efficiency (EQE) was enhanced at around 825 nm, which is ascribed to the absorption of Y6. At the same time, EQE was also enhanced at around 600–700 nm, which is ascribed to the absorption of IT-M, although the optical absorption intensity of IT-M decreased with increasing weight ratio of Y6. This is because of the efficient energy transfer from IT-M to Y6, which can collect the IT-M exciton lost in the PBDB-T/IT-M binary blend. Interestingly, the EQE spectra of PBDB-T/IT-M/Y6 ternary blend devices were not only increased but also red-shifted in the near-IR region with increasing weight ratio of Y6. This finding suggests that the absorption spectrum of Y6 is dependent on the weight ratio of Y6, which is probably due to different aggregation states depending on the weight ratio. This aggregate property of Y6 was also studied in terms of surface energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Solar Cell Applications)
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Communication
Wavelength-Conversion-Material-Mediated Semiconductor Wafer Bonding for Smart Optoelectronic Interconnects
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(12), 1742; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9121742 - 06 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1078
Abstract
A new concept of semiconductor wafer bonding, mediated by optical wavelength conversion materials, is proposed and demonstrated. The fabrication scheme provides simultaneous bond formation and interfacial function generation, leading to efficient device production. Wavelength-converting functionalized semiconductor interfacial engineering is realized by utilizing an [...] Read more.
A new concept of semiconductor wafer bonding, mediated by optical wavelength conversion materials, is proposed and demonstrated. The fabrication scheme provides simultaneous bond formation and interfacial function generation, leading to efficient device production. Wavelength-converting functionalized semiconductor interfacial engineering is realized by utilizing an adhesive viscous organic matrix with embedded fluorescent particles. The bonding is carried out in ambient air at room temperature and therefore provides a cost advantage with regard to device manufacturing. Distinct wavelength conversion, from ultraviolet into visible, and high mechanical stabilities and electrical conductivities in the bonded interfaces are verified, demonstrating their versatility for practical applications. This bonding and interfacial scheme can improve the performance and structural flexibility of optoelectronic devices, such as solar cells, by allowing the spectral light incidence suitable for each photovoltaic material, and photonic integrated circuits, by delivering the respective preferred frequencies to the optical amplifier, modulator, waveguide, and detector materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Solar Cell Applications)
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