Photovoltaic systems and solar cell conversion efficiency improvements via nanotechnology

Y. Matsumoto1, J Santoyo-Salazar2A. Dutt3, G. Santana-Rodríguez3,

1Solid State Electronics Section, Electrical Engineering Department, 2Physics Department

Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN, Mexico.

3 Instituto de Investigaciones en Materiales,

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Coyoacán 04510, Mexico


e-mail address:


An explanation about the general photovoltaic development and situation in the world will be given. Considerations as bulk and thin-film based technologies will be discussed and the possible scheme for solar cell energy conversion improvement by using nanotechnology.

Solar photovoltaic systems (PVS) are becoming one of the important clean and alternative-energy technology in several countries. The PV-systems are safe, reliable with a low-maintenance cost without any on-site pollutant emissions. Nowadays, the utility grid-connected PVS are increasing rapidly in the world and estimated global PV market grew to over 70 GW and about 300 GW cumulatively installed capacity at the end of 2016 [1]. The underlying deployment scenario assumes 3,155 GW of cumulative installed PV capacity by 2050 [2].

We have obtained different nanocrystalline-based thin-films to analyze its light interaction, mostly for the visible range. The obtained photoluminescence from the silicon-based nanoparticles has a bright luminescence in almost all of the visible spectra. The deposited samples are nc-SiOx and nc-SiOxCy thin films fabricated by using catalytic chemical vapor deposition method (Cat-CVD). We have used two different precursors as Monomethyl Silane (MMS) and Tetraethyl Orthosilicate (TEOS) for film deposition at relatively low substrate temperatures of 200 to 300 °C. In our earlier work, we have obtained the white emission from as-deposited samples by varying the catalyst temperature from 1700 to 1900 °C. By using Scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM), it was confirmed the formation of nano-crystals related to the composite of silicon oxide and silicon oxicarbide in the amorphous-SiOx or a-SiOxCy matrix, respectively, without any need of extra annealing treatment. Various morphological and structural analysis has been performed using atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Some size distributions of particles were observed and its correlation with their bonding states to silicon, hydrogen and oxygen. Time resolved photoluminescence (TRPL) explains the possible emission mechanism. The decay time of < 2ns obtained from the thin films, remarks the possible contribution of quantum confinement effect (QCE) from the nano-crystals in the SiOxCy matrix.

Now we are in the stage to clarify the PL mechanism by means of Density functional theoretical calculations [3] and to explain the possible electronic transitions for the possible application of the nc-Si materials for the optoelectronic devices.



[1] PV activities in Japan, and global PV highlights Volume 23, No. 1, January 2017, RTS Japan.

[2] Arvizu, D., P. Balaya, L. Cabeza, T. Hollands, A. Jäger-Waldau, M. Kondo, C. Konseibo, V. Meleshko, W. Stein, Y. Tamaura, H. Xu, R. Zilles, 2011: Direct Solar Energy. In IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation [O. Edenhofer, R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, K. Seyboth, P. Matschoss, S. Kadner, T. Zwickel, P. Eickemeier, G. Hansen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow (eds)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

[3] Surface chemistry and density distribution influence on visible luminescence of silicon quantum dots: an experimental and theoretical approach, Ateet Dutt, Yasuhiro Matsumoto, G. Santana-Rodrıguez, Estrella Ramos, B. Marel Monroya and J. Santoyo Salazar, Phys.Chem.Chem.Phys.,2017, 19, 1526


Summary of academic career

Yasuhiro Matsumoto, is an Engineer in Communications and Electronics at the ESIME-IPN, Mexico and PhD from the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Electrical Engineering at Osaka University, Japan. He is currently Professor of the Electrical Engineering Department at CINVESTAV-IPN (Research Center and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute). His interest is in materials, semiconductor devices and in nanotechnology. He works in thin films and crystalline silicon solar cells, as well as evaluation of photovoltaic systems. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed international journals and more than 150 papers in international congresses. Has graduated 7 doctoral, 10 master and 8 bachelor students. Up to now, he offered more than 75 invited conferences.