The silicon based counterparts used in photovoltaic cells, are expensive than the carbon based organic photovoltaic cells, but they are more efficient in harnessing sunlight and producing it to electricity.
The team led by Prof. Yang Yang from UCLA, working with Xing Wang Zhang from Beijing’s Chinese Academy of Science, and Ziruo Hong from Japan’s Yamagata University; used gold nanoparticles to make the organic photovoltaic cells ore efficient by 20% a layer.
They put a layer of gold nanoparticles between two light-absorbing subcells in a tandem polymer solar cell in order to harvest a greater fraction of the solar spectrum.
They found that by employing the interconnecting gold-nanoparticle layer, they were able to enhance power conversion by as much as 20 percent. The gold nanoparticles create a strong electromagnetic field inside the thin organic photovoltaic layers by a plasmonic effect, which concentrates light so that much more of it can be absorbed by the subcells.
The team is the first to report a plasmonic-enhanced polymer tandem solar cell, having overcome the difficulties involved in incorporating metal nanostructures into the overall device structure.
The research team included Xing Wang Zhang from the Key Lab of Semiconductor Materials Science at the Institute of Semiconductors at Beijing’s Chinese Academy of Science and Ziruo Hong from the Graduate School of Science and Engineering at Japan’s Yamagata University.
Experimental and theoretical results demonstrate that the enhancement effect was attained from local near-field enhancement of the gold nanoparticles. The results show that the plasmonic effect has great potential for the future development of polymer solar cells. The team’s proposed interlayer structures as an open platform can be applied to various polymer materials, opening up opportunities for highly efficient, multi-stacked tandem solar cells.