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Issue 1, 2015
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Three-dimensional scanning near field optical microscopy (3D-SNOM) imaging of random arrays of copper nanoparticles: implications for plasmonic solar cell enhancement

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Abstract

In order to investigate the suitability of random arrays of nanoparticles for plasmonic enhancement in the visible-near infrared range, we introduced three-dimensional scanning near-field optical microscopy (3D-SNOM) imaging as a useful technique to probe the intensity of near-field radiation scattered by random systems of nanoparticles at heights up to several hundred nm from their surface. We demonstrated our technique using random arrays of copper nanoparticles (Cu-NPs) at different particle diameter and concentration. Bright regions in the 3D-SNOM images, corresponding to constructive interference of forward-scattered plasmonic waves, were obtained at heights Δz ≥ 220 nm from the surface for random arrays of Cu-NPs of ∼60–100 nm in diameter. These heights are too large to use Cu-NPs in contact of the active layer for light harvesting in thin organic solar cells, which are typically no thicker than 200 nm. Using a 200 nm transparent spacer between the system of Cu-NPs and the solar cell active layer, we demonstrate that forward-scattered light can be conveyed in 200 nm thin film solar cells. This architecture increases the solar cell photoconversion efficiency by a factor of 3. Our 3D-SNOM technique is general enough to be suitable for a large number of other applications in nanoplasmonics.

Graphical abstract: Three-dimensional scanning near field optical microscopy (3D-SNOM) imaging of random arrays of copper nanoparticles: implications for plasmonic solar cell enhancement

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Publication details

The article was received on 02 Sep 2014, accepted on 10 Oct 2014 and first published on 13 Oct 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4NR05094K
Author version available: Download Author version (PDF)
Citation: Nanoscale, 2015,7, 252-260
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    Three-dimensional scanning near field optical microscopy (3D-SNOM) imaging of random arrays of copper nanoparticles: implications for plasmonic solar cell enhancement

    S. Ezugwu, H. Ye and G. Fanchini, Nanoscale, 2015, 7, 252
    DOI: 10.1039/C4NR05094K

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