Invited: Atmospheric-Pressure Plasmas Processes for Third Generation Photovoltaics

Tuesday, 7 October 2014: 10:00
Expo Center, 2nd Floor, Beta Room (Moon Palace Resort)
D. Mariotti, S. Askari, S. Mitra (University of Ulster), V. Svrcek (AIST), T. Belmonte (Université de Lorraine - Institut Jean Lamour), and P. Maguire (University of Ulster)
Non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasmas (APPs) have attracted great interest due the potential cost reductions in manufacturing and processing of materials for a wide range of applications [1]. Although APPs present several challenges, considerable progress has been achieved in recent years with an increasing number of industrial and commercial applications utilizing different forms of APPs. One of the most attractive application of APPs is for the synthesis and processing of nanomaterials with specific focus on materials for energy applications.

In this contribution we will present recent advances in both the synthesis and surface engineering of quantum confined silicon-based nanoparticles [2-5]. In particular we will discuss a range of synthesis methods that rely on atmospheric pressure plasmas for producing crystalline silicon nanoparticles as well as alloyed silicon-tin nanoparticles; these will include laser-produced plasmas, rf-APPs and plasmas in liquids. The analysis will include, in some of the cases, theoeretical models that highlight key mechanisms of nanoparticle heating [6].

We will then discuss the integration of silicon-based nanoparticles in photovoltaic devices, demonstrating their contribution as down-converters and/or as part of the active layer. In this context we will show how APP-based surface engineering can offer great opportunities for tailoring surface properties of the nanoparticles. Device parameters will be presented and analysed for different device architectures.

Finally, tha applicability of APPs in different aspect of photovoltaic device fabrication will be discussed presenting opportunities and challenges for large scale nanomanufacturing.


This work was partially supported by a NEDO project, the Royal Society International Exchange Scheme (IE120884), the Leverhulme International Network (IN-2012-136) and EPSRC (EP/K022237/1). DM also acknowledges the support of the JSPS Bridge Fellowship. SM and SA thank the financial support of the University of Ulster Vice-Chancellor Studentship.


[1] Mariotti D et al. J. Phys. D Appl. Phys. 43 (2010) 323001 

[2] Mariotti D et al. Adv. Funct. Mater. 22 (2012) 954

[3] Švrček V et al. Appl. Phys. Lett. 97 (2010) 161502

[4] Švrček V et al. Chem. Phys. Lett. 478 (2009) 224

[5] Levchenko I et al. Carbon 47 (2009) 2379 

[6] Askari S et al. Appl. Phys. Lett. submitted