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With a simple coating, nanowires show a dramatic increase in efficiency and sensitivity
Date:7/6/2011

a hundred-fold reduction in surface recombination. Overall, the coated wires boasted a 90-fold increase in photosensitivity compared to uncoated ones.

Co-author Yaping Dan, a postdoctoral fellow in Crozier's lab who spearheaded the experiments, suggests that the reason for the increased efficiency is that the coating physically extends the broken atom bonds at the single-crystalline silicon surface. At the same time, the coating also may form a highelectric potential barrier at the interface, which confines the photogenerated charge carriers inside the single-crystalline silicon.

"As far as we know, scientists have not done these types of precision measurements of surface passivation at the level of single nanowires," says Crozier. "Simply by putting a thin layer of amorphous silicon onto a crystalline silicon nanowire reduces the surface recombination nearly two orders of magnitude. We think the work will address some of the disadvantages of nanowires but keep their advantages."

Due to their increased carrier lifetime, the researchers expect that their wires will offer higher energy conversion efficiency when used in solar cell devices.


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Contact: Michael Patrick Rutter
mrutter@seas.harvard.edu
617-496-3815
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert  

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