2D/3D graphene on h-BN interlayer-silicon solar cell with ZnO:Al buffer layer and enormous light captivation using Au/Ag NPs

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In this paper, systematic design and analysis of thin-film graphene-silicon solar cells with the addition of Anti-Reflection Coating (ARC), hexagonal Boron Nitride (h-BN) interlayer and decorated with Au/Ag NPs infused in rear ZnO: Al buffer layer is reported. The 3D NPs are located on the top and rear side of the solar cell. Initially, we simulated a reference 2D graphene-silicon solar cell with highest simulated short circuit current density (Jsc) 30mA/ cm2 and Power Conversion Efficiency (PCE) of 10.65%. Using 2D and 3D Full Vectorial Finite Element Method (FVFEM) simulations, we significantly improved the Jsc by 6.2mA/ cm2 from 30mA/cm2 to 36.21mA/cm2 and PCE from 10.93% to 12.03%. We utilised a patterned graphene sheet with small nanoholes to increase surface and optical conductivity. Plasmonic NPs embedded in a graphene-silicon solar cell to increase plasmonic resonance effects is investigated. The 3D position of the patterned graphene, rear buffer layer stack, size, shape, and periodicity of NPs were well-controlled and analysed under certain parametric variation conditions. Ag NPs located inside textured ZnO: Al detached to metal contact and small periodic Au NPs decorated beneath h-BN interlayer lead to highly efficient light confinement and increase photon current generation. The proposed device exhibits 12.03% PCE, maximum light absorption over 80% and high overall Quantum Efficiency (QE). Furthermore, this structure offers major light trapping advantages, including significant EM light propagation throughout the solar cell structure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)12709-12728
Number of pages20
JournalOptics Express
Issue number9
Early online date14 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2020


  • Thin-film graphene-silicon solar cells
  • Plasmonic resonance effects
  • Light trapping

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