Broadband Epsilon-near-Zero Reflectors Enhance the Quantum Efficiency of Thin Solar Cells at Visible and Infrared Wavelengths

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/623802
Title:
Broadband Epsilon-near-Zero Reflectors Enhance the Quantum Efficiency of Thin Solar Cells at Visible and Infrared Wavelengths
Authors:
Labelle, A. J. ( 0000-0001-7291-5101 ) ; Bonifazi, Marcella; Tian, Y.; Wong, C.; Hoogland, S.; Favraud, Gael ( 0000-0002-3671-8925 ) ; Walters, G.; Sutherland, B.; Liu, M.; Li, Jun; Zhang, Xixiang ( 0000-0002-3478-6414 ) ; Kelley, S. O. ( 0000-0003-3360-5359 ) ; Sargent, E. H.; Fratalocchi, Andrea ( 0000-0001-6769-4439 )
Abstract:
The engineering of broadband absorbers to harvest white light in thin-film semiconductors is a major challenge in developing renewable materials for energy harvesting. Many solution-processed materials with high manufacturability and low cost, such as semiconductor quantum dots, require the use of film structures with thicknesses on the order of 1 μm to absorb incoming photons completely. The electron transport lengths in these media, however, are 1 order of magnitude smaller than this length, hampering further progress with this platform. Herein, we show that, by engineering suitably disordered nanoplasmonic structures, we have created a new class of dispersionless epsilon-near-zero composite materials that efficiently harness white light. Our nanostructures localize light in the dielectric region outside the epsilon-near-zero material with characteristic lengths of 10-100 nm, resulting in an efficient system for harvesting broadband light when a thin absorptive film is deposited on top of the structure. By using a combination of theory and experiments, we demonstrate that ultrathin layers down to 50 nm of colloidal quantum dots deposited atop the epsilon-near-zero material show an increase in broadband absorption ranging from 200% to 500% compared to a planar structure of the same colloidal quantum-dot-absorber average thickness. When the epsilon-near-zero nanostructures were used in an energy-harvesting module, we observed a spectrally averaged 170% broadband increase in the external quantum efficiency of the device, measured at wavelengths between 400 and 1200 nm. Atomic force microscopy and photoluminescence excitation measurements demonstrate that the properties of these epsilon-near-zero structures apply to general metals and could be used to enhance the near-field absorption of semiconductor structures more widely. We have developed an inexpensive electrochemical deposition process that enables scaled-up production of this nanomaterial for large-scale energy-harvesting applications.
KAUST Department:
Electrical Engineering Program; PRIMALIGHT Research Group; Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
Citation:
Labelle AJ, Bonifazi M, Tian Y, Wong C, Hoogland S, et al. (2017) Broadband Epsilon-near-Zero Reflectors Enhance the Quantum Efficiency of Thin Solar Cells at Visible and Infrared Wavelengths. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 9: 5556–5565. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.6b13713.
Publisher:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Journal:
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
KAUST Grant Number:
CRG-1-2012-FRA-005
Issue Date:
3-Feb-2017
DOI:
10.1021/acsami.6b13713
Type:
Article
ISSN:
1944-8244; 1944-8252
Sponsors:
For computer time, we used the resources of the KAUST Supercomputing Laboratory and the Redragon cluster of the Primalight group. A.F. acknowledges funding from KAUST (Award CRG-1-2012-FRA-005). E.H.S. acknowledges funding from the Ontario Research Fund.
Additional Links:
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsami.6b13713
Appears in Collections:
Articles; Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division; PRIMALIGHT Research Group; Electrical Engineering Program

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorLabelle, A. J.en
dc.contributor.authorBonifazi, Marcellaen
dc.contributor.authorTian, Y.en
dc.contributor.authorWong, C.en
dc.contributor.authorHoogland, S.en
dc.contributor.authorFavraud, Gaelen
dc.contributor.authorWalters, G.en
dc.contributor.authorSutherland, B.en
dc.contributor.authorLiu, M.en
dc.contributor.authorLi, Junen
dc.contributor.authorZhang, Xixiangen
dc.contributor.authorKelley, S. O.en
dc.contributor.authorSargent, E. H.en
dc.contributor.authorFratalocchi, Andreaen
dc.date.accessioned2017-05-31T11:23:06Z-
dc.date.available2017-05-31T11:23:06Z-
dc.date.issued2017-02-03en
dc.identifier.citationLabelle AJ, Bonifazi M, Tian Y, Wong C, Hoogland S, et al. (2017) Broadband Epsilon-near-Zero Reflectors Enhance the Quantum Efficiency of Thin Solar Cells at Visible and Infrared Wavelengths. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 9: 5556–5565. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.6b13713.en
dc.identifier.issn1944-8244en
dc.identifier.issn1944-8252en
dc.identifier.doi10.1021/acsami.6b13713en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/623802-
dc.description.abstractThe engineering of broadband absorbers to harvest white light in thin-film semiconductors is a major challenge in developing renewable materials for energy harvesting. Many solution-processed materials with high manufacturability and low cost, such as semiconductor quantum dots, require the use of film structures with thicknesses on the order of 1 μm to absorb incoming photons completely. The electron transport lengths in these media, however, are 1 order of magnitude smaller than this length, hampering further progress with this platform. Herein, we show that, by engineering suitably disordered nanoplasmonic structures, we have created a new class of dispersionless epsilon-near-zero composite materials that efficiently harness white light. Our nanostructures localize light in the dielectric region outside the epsilon-near-zero material with characteristic lengths of 10-100 nm, resulting in an efficient system for harvesting broadband light when a thin absorptive film is deposited on top of the structure. By using a combination of theory and experiments, we demonstrate that ultrathin layers down to 50 nm of colloidal quantum dots deposited atop the epsilon-near-zero material show an increase in broadband absorption ranging from 200% to 500% compared to a planar structure of the same colloidal quantum-dot-absorber average thickness. When the epsilon-near-zero nanostructures were used in an energy-harvesting module, we observed a spectrally averaged 170% broadband increase in the external quantum efficiency of the device, measured at wavelengths between 400 and 1200 nm. Atomic force microscopy and photoluminescence excitation measurements demonstrate that the properties of these epsilon-near-zero structures apply to general metals and could be used to enhance the near-field absorption of semiconductor structures more widely. We have developed an inexpensive electrochemical deposition process that enables scaled-up production of this nanomaterial for large-scale energy-harvesting applications.en
dc.description.sponsorshipFor computer time, we used the resources of the KAUST Supercomputing Laboratory and the Redragon cluster of the Primalight group. A.F. acknowledges funding from KAUST (Award CRG-1-2012-FRA-005). E.H.S. acknowledges funding from the Ontario Research Fund.en
dc.publisherAmerican Chemical Society (ACS)en
dc.relation.urlhttp://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsami.6b13713en
dc.subjectatomic force microscopyen
dc.subjectcolloidal quantum dotsen
dc.subjectelectron energy loss spectroscopyen
dc.subjectepsilon-near-zero materialsen
dc.subjectnanophotonicsen
dc.subjectsolar energy harvestingen
dc.titleBroadband Epsilon-near-Zero Reflectors Enhance the Quantum Efficiency of Thin Solar Cells at Visible and Infrared Wavelengthsen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentElectrical Engineering Programen
dc.contributor.departmentPRIMALIGHT Research Groupen
dc.contributor.departmentPhysical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Divisionen
dc.identifier.journalACS Applied Materials & Interfacesen
dc.contributor.institutionDepartment of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto, 10 Kings College Road, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G4, Canadaen
dc.contributor.institutionDepartment of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5S 3M2, Canadaen
dc.contributor.institutionDepartment of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5S 3M2, Canadaen
kaust.authorBonifazi, Marcellaen
kaust.authorTian, Y.en
kaust.authorFavraud, Gaelen
kaust.authorZhang, Xixiangen
kaust.authorFratalocchi, Andreaen
kaust.grant.numberCRG-1-2012-FRA-005en
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