High-efficiency CNT-Si solar cells based on a collaborative system enabled by oxide penetration

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Nano Research


Carbon nanotube-silicon (CNT-Si) solar cells represent one of the alternative photovoltaic techniques with potential for low cost and high efficiency. Here, we report a method to improve solar cell performance by depositing conventional transitional metal oxides such as WO3 and establishing a collaborative system, in which CNTs are well-embedded within the WO3 layer and both of them are in close contact to Si substrate. This unique collaborative system optimizes the overall energy conversion process including the light absorption (antireflection by WO3), carrier separation (forming quasi p-n junction) and charge collection (CNT conductive network throughout the oxide layer). Combining with our previous TiO2-coating and HNO3-doping techniques, a solar cell efficiency of >18% at an active area of 0.09 cm2 (air mass 1.5, 100 mW/cm2) was achieved. The oxide-enhanced CNT-Si solar cells which integrate the advantages of traditional semiconductors and novel nanostructures represent a promising route toward next-generation high-performance silicon-based photovoltaics. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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