Nanocluster production for solar cell applications

Haila M. Al Dosari, Ahmad I. Ayesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This research focuses on the fabrication and characterization of silver (Ag) and silicon (Si) nanoclusters that might be used for solar cell applications. Silver and silicon nanoclusters have been synthesized by means of dc magnetron sputtering and inert gas condensation inside an ultra-high vacuum compatible system. We have found that nanocluster size distributions can be tuned by various source parameters, such as the sputtering discharge power, flow rate of argon inert gas, and aggregation length. Quadrupole mass filter and transmission electron microscopy were used to evaluate the size distribution of Ag and Si nanoclusters. Ag nanoclusters with average size in the range of 3.6-8.3 nm were synthesized (herein size refers to the nanocluster diameter), whereas Si nanoclusters' average size was controlled to range between 2.9 and 7.4 nm by controlling the source parameters. This work illustrates the ability of controlling the Si and Ag nanoclusters' sizes by proper optimization of the operation conditions. By controlling nanoclusters' sizes, one can alter their surface properties to suit the need to enhance solar cell efficiency. Herein, Ag nanoclusters were deposited on commercial polycrystalline solar cells. Short circuit current (ISC), open circuit voltage (VOC), fill factor, and efficiency (η) were obtained under light source with an intensity of 30 mW/cm2. A 22.7% enhancement in solar cell efficiency could be measured after deposition of Ag nanoclusters, which demonstrates that Ag nanoclusters generated in this work are useful to enhance solar cell efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number054305
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 7 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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