Optical simulation of ultimate performance enhancement in ultrathin Si solar cells by semiconductor nanocrystal energy transfer sensitization†
Energy transfer (ET) from nanocrystals (NCs) has shown potential to enhance the optoelectronic performance of ultrathin semiconductor devices such as ultrathin Si solar cells, but the experimental identification of optimal device geometries for maximizing the performance enhancement is highly challenging due to a large parameter space. Here, we have demonstrated a general theoretical framework combining transfer matrix method (TMM) simulations and energy transfer (ET) calculations to reveal critical device design guidelines for developing an efficient, NC-based ET sensitization of ultrathin Si solar cells, which are otherwise infeasible to identify experimentally. The results uncover that the ET-driven NC sensitization is highly effective in enhancing the short circuit current (JSC) in sub-100 nm-thick Si layers, where, for example, the ET contribution can account for over 60% of the maximum achievable JSC in 10 nm-thick ultrathin Si. The study also reveals the limitation of the ET approach, which becomes ineffective for Si active layers thicker than 5 μm, being dominated by conventional optical coupling. The demonstrated simulation approach not only enables the development of efficient ultrathin Si solar cells but also should be applicable to precisely assessing and analyzing diverse experimental device geometries and configurations for developing new efficient ET-based ultrathin semiconductor optoelectronic devices.