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Silicon nanocrystals embedded in silicon carbide as a wide-band gap photovoltaic material

: Lopez-Vidrier, J.; Löper, P.; Schnabel, M.; Hernandez, S.; Canino, M.; Summonte, C.; Janz, S.; Garrido, B.


Solar energy materials and solar cells 144 (2016), pp.551-558
ISSN: 0927-0248
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Materialien - Solarzellen und Technologie; Farbstoff; Organische und Neuartige Solarzellen; Tandemsolarzellen auf kristallinem Silicium; nanocrystals; tandem solar cells

The optical and photovoltaic properties of Si NCs/SiC multilayers (MLs) are investigated using a membrane-based solar cell structure. By removing the Si substrate in the active cell area, the MLs are studied without any bulk Si substrate contribution. The occurrence is confirmed by scanning electron microscopy and light-beam induced current mapping. Optical characterization combined with simulations allows us to determine the absorption within the ML absorber layer, isolated from the other cell stack layers. The results indicate that the absorption at wavelengths longer than 800 nm is only due to the SiC matrix. The measured short-circuit current is significantly lower than that theoretically obtained from absorption within the ML absorber, which is ascribed to losses that limit carrier extraction. The origin of these losses is discussed in terms of the material regions where recombination takes place. Our results indicate that carrier extraction is most efficient from the Si NCs themselves, whereas recombination is strongest in SiC and residual a-Si domains. Together with the observed onset of the external quantum efficiency at 700–800 nm, this fact is an evidence of quantum confinement in Si NCs embedded in SiC on device level.