Broadband and Low-Loss Plasmonic Light Trapping in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Using Micrometer-Scale Rodlike and Spherical Core-Shell Plasmonic Particles
Dielectric scattering particles have widely been used as embedded scattering elements in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) to improve the optical absorption of the device. Here we systematically study rodlike and spherical core-shell silica@Ag particles as more effective alternatives to the dielectric scattering particles. The wavelength-scale silica@Ag particles with sufficiently thin Ag shell support hybrid plasmonic-photonic resonance modes that have low parasitic absorption losses and a broadband optical response. Both of these features lead to their successful deployment in light trapping in high-efficiency DSCs. Optimized rodlike silica@Ag@silica particles improve the power conversion efficiency of a DSC from 6.33 to 8.91%. The dimension, surface morphology, and concentration of these particles are optimized to achieve maximal efficiency enhancement. The rodlike silica particles are prepared in a simple one-pot synthesis process and then are coated with Ag in a liquid-phase deposition process by reducing an Ag salt. The aspect ratio of silica rods is tuned by adjusting the temperature and duration of the growth process, whereas the morphology of Ag shell is tailored by controlling the reduction rate of Ag salt, where slower reduction in a polyol process gives a smoother Ag shell. Using optical calculations, the superior performance of the plasmonic core shell particles is related to the large number of hybrid photonic plasmonic resonance modes that they support.