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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 18, Iss. 10 — May. 10, 2010
  • pp: 10078–10087

The origin of enhanced optical absorption in solar cells with metal nanoparticles embedded in the active layer

Jung-Yong Lee and Peter Peumans  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue 10, pp. 10078-10087 (2010)

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We analyze the enhancement in optical absorption of an absorbing medium when spherical metal nanoparticles are embedded in it. Our analysis uses generalized Mie theory to calculate the absorbed optical power as a function of the distance from the metal nanoparticle. This analysis is used to evaluate the potential of enhancing optical absorption in thin-film solar cells by embedding spherical metal nanoparticles. We consider the trade-off between maximizing overall optical absorption and ensuring that a large fraction of the incident optical power is dissipated in the absorbing host medium rather than in the metal nanoparticle. We show that enhanced optical absorption results from strong scattering by the metal nanoparticle which locally enhances the optical electric fields. We also discuss the effect of a thin dielectric encapsulation of the metal nanoparticles.

© 2010 OSA

OCIS Codes
(290.4020) Scattering : Mie theory
(250.5403) Optoelectronics : Plasmonics

ToC Category:
Solar Energy

Original Manuscript: January 14, 2010
Revised Manuscript: April 11, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: April 26, 2010
Published: April 29, 2010

Virtual Issues
Focus Issue: Solar Concentrators (2010) Optics Express

Jung-Yong Lee and Peter Peumans, "The origin of enhanced optical absorption in solar cells with metal nanoparticles embedded in the active layer," Opt. Express 18, 10078-10087 (2010)

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