Electrospun PVA Polymer Embedded with Ceria Nanoparticles as Silicon Solar Cells Rear Surface Coaters for Efficiency Improvement
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This paper introduces electrospun nanofibers embedded with ceria nanoparticles as silicon solar cells coaters, showing their influence on the solar cells 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 cellconductivity through the hopping mechanism. Besides, under violet excitation, the reduced trivalent cerium Ce3+ ions are directly responsible for down-converting the un-absorbed violet or ultra-violet (UV) wavelengths to a resulted green fluorescence emission at ~520 nm. These are absorbed through the silicon solar cells active layer. When electrospun Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) is embedded with ceria nanoparticles on the rear surface of silicon solar cell, a promising enhancement in the behavior of solar cells current–voltage (I–V) curve is observed. The efficiency has improved by about 24% of its initial value due to the mutual impact of improving both electrical conductivity and optical conversions from the higher surface-to-volume ratio of electrospun nanofibers embedded by ceria nanoparticles. The solar cell efficiency improvement is due to the mutual impact of both optical down-conversion and better electric paths via the used nanocomposite. The added nanostructures coating can utilize part of the transmitted UV or violet spectrum through the cell as optical conversion from violet to the visible region. In addition, the formed active tri-valent states are associated with O-vacancies which can help in a better conductivity of the generated photoelectrons from the cell through the hopping mechanism. The PVA nanofibers host offers a better distribution of ceria nanoparticles and better conductivity paths for the photoelectrons based on the better surface-to-volume ratio of the nanofibers.