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Published January 2005 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Radial pn junction nanorod solar cells: device physics principles and routes to fabrication in silicon


We have developed quantitative device-physics models for a radial pn junction nanorod solar cell, that is, a cell which consists of densely packed nanorods attached to a conducting substrate, each nanorod with a pn junction in the radial direction. It is found that this novel design shows large improvements over the planar geometry so long as two conditions are satisfied: a) a planar solar cell made from the same material is collection limited, i.e. the diffusion length of minority carriers is too low to allow for collection of most or all of the light-generated carriers in the conventional planar geometry, and b) recombination in the depletion region is not too high, or, equivalently, the lifetime of carriers in the depletion region is not too short. In order to experimentally validate this concept, the vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth of silicon (Si) nanorods has been explored using metal catalyst particles that are not as deleterious to the minority carrier lifetime of Si as gold (Au), the most commonly used wire growth catalyst.

Additional Information

© 2005 IEEE. Issue Date: 3-7 Jan. 2005. Date of Current Version: 08 August 2005. The authors would like to thank BP Solar and NREL for their financial support.

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