Metal assisted chemically etched silicon nanowires for application in a hybrid solar cell
Magubane, Siphesihle Siphamandla
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Photovoltaic (PV) devices based on inorganic-organic hybrid active layers have been extensively studied for over a decade now. However, photoactive hybrid layers of material combinations such as rr-P3HT and SiNWs still require further exploration as candidates for solar cell (SC) fabrication, due to favourable optical absorption and charge carrier mobility associated with them respectively. The ultimate goal of the study is to fabricate ITO/PEDOT:PSS/rr-P3HT:SiNWs/Al SCs with different SiNWs content and investigate the different parameters or factors influencing the performance of these cells. The vertically aligned SiNW arrays on a Si wafer were synthesised via metal assisted chemical etching (MACE) and a method of chemically detaching these wires was developed. The average length and the diameter of the SiNWs obtained were 4.5 μm and 0.2 μm, respectively. Different weight ratios of as-synthesised SiNWs were then incorporated within rr-P3HT to form different hybrid solutions, i.e. rr-P3HT: 0.3 wt% SiNWs, rr-P3HT: 0.7 wt% SiNWs and rr-P3HT: 1.3 wt% SiNWs. In addition, a pure rr- P3HT solution was made for reference purposes. SEM characterisation shows that the SiNWs are randomly distributed across the active area, and that the film becomes progressively inhomogeneous upon addition of SiNWs, whereas the TEM characterisation revealed that there is no chemical interaction between the rr-P3HT and SiNWs. The UV-Vis and PL spectra suggest that there are changes in absorption and emission characteristics upon SiNW incorporation into the rr-P3HT matrix, which may have impacted the charge transfer .The electrical properties of the different hybrid films were probed using Hall Effect measurements, which revealed that the conductivity increases with the increase in the concentration of nanowires (NWs). The increase in conductivity upon the addition of SiNWs in the rr-P3HT matrix was related to an increase of the mobility (μ) of charge carriers in the hybrid films.