Si nanocrystals embedded in silicon oxide and nitride as nanoscale heterojunction for third generation photovoltaics

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES (UNSW), FRAUNHOFER INSTITUTE FOR SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS (GERMANY), RWTH AACHEN UNIVERSITY (GERMANY) AND ALBERT LUDWIGS UNIVERSITY OF FREIBURG (GERMANY)

Researchers around the world are exploring ways to improve the viability of third generation photovoltaic solar cells. Third generation devices have the potential to deliver higher efficiencies, at the same low cost of thin film technology.

This project aims to increase the efficiency of one type of third generation device by increasing the number of silicon nanocrystal (Si NC) layers in silicon oxide and silicon nitride. 

It builds on the theoretical work of the University of New South Wales and the experimental work of the University of Freiburg (Germany) that shows Si NC embedded in silicon oxide and silicon nitride enables improved separation and transport of electrical carriers.

Put simply, a better distribution of these types of cells on the surface of the solar cell will reduce the amount of heat lost during energy conversion.

The project brings together the technological effort of three distinguished German solar and nanostructure research institutes, and the expertise in theory and characterisation work in third generation photovoltaic devices of the University of New South Wales.

Over three years, the team will demonstratean intrinsic Si NC layer in both oxide and nitride heterojunction with rectifying characteristics, increased open circuit voltage and increased short circuit density.

Fact Sheet: Si nanocrystals embedded in silicon oxide and nitrate as nanoscale heterojunction for third generation photovoltaics (PDF 393KB)