A General Design Rule to Manipulate Photocarrier Transport Path in Solar Cells and Its Realization by the Plasmonic-Electrical Effect
It is well known that transport paths of photocarriers (electrons and holes) before collected by electrodes strongly affect bulk recombination and thus electrical properties of solar cells, including open-circuit voltage and fill factor. For boosting device performance, a general design rule, tailored to arbitrary electron to hole mobility ratio, is proposed to decide the transport paths of photocarriers. Due to a unique ability to localize and concentrate light, plasmonics is explored to manipulate photocarrier transport through spatially redistributing light absorption at the active layer of devices. Without changing the active materials, we conceive a plasmonic-electrical concept, which tunes electrical properties of solar cells via the plasmon-modified optical field distribution, to realize the design rule. Incorporating spectrally and spatially configurable metallic nanostructures, thin-film solar cells are theoretically modelled and experimentally fabricated to validate the design rule and verify the plasmonic-tunable electrical properties. The general design rule, together with the plasmonic-electrical effect, contributes to the evolution of emerging photovoltaics.