Effect of Au and Ag Nanoparticles on Thin Film Solar Cells

  • Hakim Al Mazem

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Thin film solar cells have gained interest recently due to the ability to reduce the overall production cost of the solar cells. However, reducing the thickness of the solar cells will reduce the absorption of the light and consequently affects the efficiency and performance of the solar cells. This is more critical for indirect band gap materials. Hence it is required to further improve thin film solar cell performance and keep thin absorber material thickness at the same time. In this work, two approaches have been studied to improve the performance of thin film solar cells: implementing forward scattering to increase absorption by using metal nanoparticles and reducing reflection from the top surface of the cells by optimizing anti-reflective coating layer. For the first study, gold (Au) and silver (Ag) nanoparticles were spin coated on top of a-Si:H/ 4 ┬Ám c-Si0.59Ge0.41/cSi HIT solar cells and a-Si PIN solar cells, respectively. Adding 200 nm Au gold nanoparticles increased short circuit current density from 16.62 mA/cm2 to 17.47 mA/cm2 . Furthermore, a relative increase of ~5% is recorded in efficiency and ~3.2% increase in peak External Quantum Efficiency (EQE) were recorded for Au nanoparticles coated cells. Detail study revealed an improved response in long wavelength range (> 600 nm), which is important for thin film solar cells. Adding 100 nm Ag nanoparticles was also found to improve the solar cell performance with a peak EQE enhancement of ~5%. For the second study, the impact of interface defects between silicon and anti-reflective coating (ARC) using physics based TCAD Simulation was investigated . The TCAD part is divided into two parts: the first concentrates on the interface defects between the silicon and ARC; the second part studies the effect of different materials as the ARC and reducing the interface state density. Different materials such as Si3N4, SiO2 and TiO2 were studied and the effect of material thickness on the electrical performance of the device.
Date of AwardDec 2016
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorAmmar Nayfeh (Supervisor)


  • Au and Ag Nanoparticles
  • Thin Film Solar Cells
  • global energy consumption
  • Solar energy
  • photovoltaic.

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