Strongly enhanced upconversion in trivalent erbium ions by tailored gold nanostructures: Toward high-efficient silicon-based photovoltaics

Jeppe Christiansen*, Joakim Vester-Petersen, Søren Roesgaard, Søren H. Møller, Rasmus E. Christiansen, Ole Sigmund, Søren Peder Madsen, Peter Balling, Brian Julsgaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Upconversion of sub-band-gap photons constitutes a promising way for improving the efficiency of silicon-based solar cells beyond the Shockley-Queisser limit. 1500 nm to 980 nm upconversion by trivalent erbium ions is well-suited for this purpose, but the small absorption cross section hinders real-world applications. We employ tailored gold nanostructures to vastly improve the upconversion efficiency in erbium-doped TiO thin films. The nanostructures are found using topology optimization and parameter optimization and fabricated by electron beam lithography. In qualitative agreement with a theoretical model, the samples show substantial electric-field enhancements inside the upconverting films for excitation at 1500 nm for both s- and p-polarization under a wide range of incidence angles and excitation intensities. An unprecedented upconversion enhancement of 913 ± 51 is observed at 1.7 W cm−2. We derive a semi-empirical expression for the photonically enhanced upconversion efficiency, valid for all excitation intensities. This allows us to determine the upconversion properties needed to achieve significant improvements in real-world solar-cell devices through photonic-enhanced upconversion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110406
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Volume208
Number of pages7
ISSN0927-0248
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Upconversion of sub-band gap photons
  • High-efficient photovoltaics
  • Photonic enhancement
  • Topology optimization

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