Nanopatterning has gained tremendous importance in the field of photovoltaics, as absorption of sunlight in solar cells can be enhanced drastically by proper engineering of photonic nanostructures1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. However, despite intensive efforts, neither the ideal surface morphology nor the ideal scattering characteristics for optimum light trapping have been identified. Experimentally, a method capable of implementing arbitrarily designed surface morphologies directly into functional devices is desirable. Here, we establish a nanomoulding process that provides exactly such a platform, enabling precise, large-area, nanoscale patterning of functional zinc oxide films at low cost. We illustrate the application of nanomoulded zinc oxide films as transparent front electrodes in amorphous silicon solar cells, demonstrating excellent initial conversion efficiencies of 10.1%. In the quest to find the most efficient light-harvesting scheme, we anticipate that nanomoulding will catalyse the development and integration of exciting new nanophotonic structures.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $4.92 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Zhu, J., Hsu, C-M., Yu, Z., Fan, S. & Cui, Y. Nanodome solar cells with efficient light management and self-cleaning. Nano Lett. 10, 1979–1984 (2010).
Garnett, E. & Yang, P. Light trapping in silicon nanowire solar cells. Nano Lett. 10, 1082–1087 (2010).
Kelzenberg, M. D. et al. Enhanced absorption and carrier collection in Si wire arrays for photovoltaic applications. Nature Mater. 9, 239–244 (2010).
Cao, L. et al. Semiconductor nanowire optical antenna solar absorbers. Nano Lett. 10, 439–445 (2010).
Han, S. E. & Chen, G. Optical absorption enhancement in silicon nanohole arrays for solar photovoltaics. Nano Lett. 10, 1012–1015 (2010).
Atwater, H. A. & Polman, A. Plasmonics for improved photovoltaic devices. Nature Mater. 9, 205–213 (2010).
Sai, H., Fujiwara, H., Kondo, M. & Kanamori, Y. Enhancement of light trapping in thin-film hydrogenated microcrystalline Si solar cells using back reflectors with self-ordered dimple pattern. Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 143501 (2008).
Battaglia, C. et al. Nanoimprint lithography for high-efficiency thin-film silicon solar cells. Nano Lett. 11, 661–665 (2010).
Lincot, D. Solution growth of functional zinc oxide films and nanostructures. MRS Bull. 35, 778–789 (2010).
Özgür, U. et al. A comprehensive review of ZnO materials and devices. J. Appl. Phys. 98, 041301 (2005).
Tian, Z. R. et al. Complex and oriented ZnO nanostructures. Nature Mater. 2, 821–826 (2003).
Law, M., Greene, L. E., Johnson, J. C., Saykally, R. & Yang, P. Nanowire dye-sensitized solar cells. Nature Mater. 4, 455–459 (2005).
Faÿ, S., Steinhauser, J., Oliveira, N., Vallat-Sauvain, E. & Ballif, C. Optoelectronic properties of rough LP-CVD ZnO:B for use as TCO in thin-film silicon solar cells. Thin Solid Films 515, 8558–8561 (2007).
Berginski, M., Hüpkes, J., Reetz, W., Rech, B. & Wuttig, M. Recent development on surface-textured ZnO:Al films prepared by sputtering for thin-film solar cell application. Thin Solid Films 516, 5836–5841 (2008).
Benagli, S. et al. High-efficiency amorphous silicon devices on LPCVD-ZnO TCO prepared in industrial KAI-M R&D reactor. Proceedings of the 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, Hamburg, Germany, 2293–2298 (2009).
Bailat, J. et al. Recent developments of high-efficiency micro-morph tandem solar cells in KAI-M PECVD reactors. Proceedings of the 5th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, Valencia, Spain, 2720–2723 (2010).
Yablonovitch, E. Statistical ray optics. J. Opt. Soc. Am. 72, 899–907 (1982).
Yu, Z., Raman, A. & Fan, S. Fundamental limit of nanophotonic light trapping in solar cells PNAS. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 17491–17496 (2010).
Escarré, J., Söderström, K., Haug, F-J., Battaglia, C. & Ballif, C. High fidelity transfer of nanometric random textures by UV embossing for thin film solar cells applications. Sol. Energ. Mater. Sol. Cells. 95, 881–886 (2011).
Python, M. et al. Influence of the substrate geometrical parameters on microcrystalline silicon growth for thin-film solar cells. Sol. Energ. Mater. Sol. Cell. 93, 1714–1720 (2009).
Despeisse, M. et al. Resistive interlayer for improved performance of thin film silicon solar cells on highly textured substrate. Appl. Phys. Lett. 96, 073507 (2010).
Cuony, P. et al. Mixed-phase p-type silicon oxide containing silicon nanocrystals and its role in thin-film silicon solar cells. Appl. Phys. Lett. 97, 213502 (2010).
Battaglia, C. et al. Efficient light management scheme for thin film silicon solar cells via transparent random nanostructures fabricated by nanoimprinting. Appl. Phys. Lett. 96, 213504 (2010).
Ahn, S. H. & Guo, L. J. Large-area roll-to-roll and roll-to-plate nanoimprint lithography: a step toward high-throughput application of continuous nanoimprinting. ACS Nano 3, 2304–2310 (2009).
Lee, W., Ji, R., Gösele, U. & Nielsch, K. Fast fabrication of long-range ordered porous alumina membranes by hard anodization. Nature Mater. 5, 741–747 (2006).
The authors thank D. Alexander and M. Leboeuf for assistance with the FIB and AFM, respectively, W. Lee for providing the ATA master, Z. Holman and P. Cuony for careful proof-reading of the manuscript, and the Swiss Federal Energy Office and the Swiss National Science Foundation for funding (under project no. 101191 and grant no. 200021 12577/1).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Battaglia, C., Escarré, J., Söderström, K. et al. Nanomoulding of transparent zinc oxide electrodes for efficient light trapping in solar cells. Nature Photon 5, 535–538 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2011.198
Scientific Reports (2021)
Influence on the Haze Effect of Si Thin-Film Solar Cell on Multi-Surface Textures of Periodic Honeycomb Glass
Transactions on Electrical and Electronic Materials (2021)
Nature Energy (2020)
Enhancing the Efficiencies of Organic Photovoltaic and Organic Light-Emitting Diode Devices by Regular Nano-Wrinkle Patterns
Journal of Shanghai Jiaotong University (Science) (2018)
Effect of annealing atmosphere on microstructure, optical and electronic properties of spray-pyrolysed In-doped Zn(O,S) thin films
Bulletin of Materials Science (2018)