Lanthanide-Doped Ceria Nanoparticles as Backside Coaters to Improve Silicon Solar Cell Efficiency
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This paper introduces lanthanide-doped ceria nanoparticles as silicon solar cell back-side coaters, showing their influence on the solar cell efficiency. Ceria nanoparticles can be synthesized to have formed oxygen vacancies (O-vacancies), which are associated with converting cerium ions from the Ce4+ state ions to the Ce3+ ones. These O-vacancies follow the rule of improving silicon solar cell conductivity through a hopping mechanism. Besides, under near-ultra violet (near-UV) excitation, the reduced trivalent cerium Ce3+ ions are directly responsible for down converting the un-absorbed UV wavelengths to a resultant green photo-luminescence emission at ~520 nm, which is absorbed through the silicon solar cell’s active layer. Adding lanthanide elements such as Neodymium “Nd” as ceria nanoparticle dopants helps in forming extra oxygen vacancies (O-vacancies), followed by an increase in the number of Ce4+ to Ce3+ ion reductions, thus enhancing the conductivity and photoluminescence down conversion mechanisms. After introducing lanthanide-doped ceria nanoparticles on a silicon solar cell surface, a promising enhancement in the behavior of the solar cell current-voltage curve is observed, and the efficiency is improved by about 25% of its initial value due to the mutual impact of improving both electric conductivity and optical conversions.