Self-Assembled Monolayer of Wavelength-Scale Core-Shell Particles for Low-Loss Plasmonic and Broadband Light Trapping in Solar Cells
Scattering particles constitute a key light trapping solution for thin film photovoltaics where either the particles are embedded in the light absorbing layer or a thick layer of them is used as a reflector. Here we introduce a monolayer of wavelength-scale core-shell silica@Ag particles as a novel light trapping strategy for thin film photovoltaics. These particles show hybrid photonic-plasmonic resonance modes that scatter light strongly and with small parasitic absorption losses in Ag (<1.5%). In addition, their scattering efficiency does not vary significantly with the refractive index of the surrounding medium. A monolayer of these particles is applied as the top-scattering layers in a dye-sensitized solar cells and it improves the short-circuit current density of a cell with 7 mu m-thick dye-sensitized layer by 38%. Optical measurements of the scattering properties of these particles confirm that the strong scattering and low-parasitic absorption losses constitute the main reason for this efficient light trapping.