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Title: On Field-Effect Photovoltaics: Gate Enhancement of the Power Conversion Efficiency in a Nanotube/Silicon-Nanowire Solar Cell

Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in crystalline silicon Schottky junction solar cells distinguished by the use of low density of electronic states (DOS) nanocarbons (nanotubes, graphene) as the metal contacting the Si. Recently, unprecedented modulation of the power conversion efficiency in a single material system has been demonstrated in such cells by the use of electronic gating. The gate field induced Fermi level shift in the low-DOS carbon serves to enhance the junction built-in potential, while a gate field induced inversion layer at the Si surface, in regions remote from the junction, keeps the photocarriers well separated there, avoiding recombination at surface traps and defects (a key loss mechanism). Here, we extend these results into the third dimension of a vertical Si nanowire array solar cell. A single wall carbon nanotube layer engineered to contact virtually each n-Si nanowire tip extracts the minority carriers, while an ionic liquid electrolytic gate drives the nanowire body into inversion. The enhanced light absorption of the vertical forest cell, at 100 mW/cm 2 AM1.5G illumination, results in a short-circuit current density of 35 mA/cm 2 and associated power conversion efficiency of 15%. These results highlight the use of local fields asmore » opposed to surface passivation as a means of avoiding front surface recombination. Finally, a deleterious electrochemical reaction of the silicon due to the electrolyte gating is shown to be caused by oxygen/water entrained in the ionic liquid electrolyte. While encapsulation can avoid the issue, a nonencapsulation-based approach is also implemented.« less
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  1. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 38; Journal ID: ISSN 1944-8244
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; ionic liquid; nanotube; Schottky junction; silicon; solar cell
OSTI Identifier: