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Oliveira, R. D., A. Mouquinho, P. Centeno, M. Alexandre, S. Haque, R. Martins, E. Fortunato, H. Águas, and MJ Mendes. "Colloidal lithography for photovoltaics: An attractive route for light management." Nanomaterials. 11 (2021). AbstractWebsite
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Grey, P., M. Chapa, M. Alexandre, T. Mateus, E. Fortunato, R. Martins, MJ Mendes, and L. Pereira. "Combining Soft with Hard Condensed Matter for Circular Polarized Light Sensing and Logic Operations." Advanced Optical Materials. 9 (2021). AbstractWebsite
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Centeno, Pedro, Miguel Alexandre, Filipe Neves, Elvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins, Hugo Águas, and Manuel J. Mendes. "Copper-Arsenic-Sulfide Thin-Films from Local Raw Materials Deposited via RF Co-Sputtering for Photovoltaics." Nanomaterials. 12 (2022). AbstractWebsite

The inexorable increase of energy demand and the efficiency bottleneck of monocrystalline silicon solar cell technology is promoting the research and development of alternative photovoltaic materials. Copper-arsenic-sulfide (CAS) compounds are still rather unexplored in the literature, yet they have been regarded as promising candidates for use as p-type absorber in solar cells, owing to their broad raw material availability, suitable bandgap and high absorption coefficient. Here, a comprehensive study is presented on the structural and optoelectronic properties of CAS thin-films deposited via radio-frequency magnetron co-sputtering, using a commercial Cu target together with a Cu-As-S target with material obtained from local resources, specifically from mines in the Portuguese region of the Iberian Pyrite Belt. Raman and X-ray diffraction analysis confirm that the use of two targets results in films with pronounced stoichiometry gradients, suggesting a transition from amorphous CAS compounds to crystalline djurleite (Cu31S16), with the increasing proximity to the Cu target. Resistivity values from 4.7 mΩ·cm to 17.4 Ω·cm are obtained, being the lowest resistive films, those with pronounced sub-bandgap free-carrier absorption. The bandgap values range from 2.20 to 2.65 eV, indicating promising application as wide-bandgap semiconductors in third-generation (e.g., multi-junction) photovoltaic devices.

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Haque, S., M. Alexandre, MJ Mendes, H. Águas, E. Fortunato, and R. Martins. "Design of wave-optical structured substrates for ultra-thin perovskite solar cells." Applied Materials Today. 20 (2020). AbstractWebsite
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Alishah, H. M., F. P. G. Choi, U. D. Menda, C. Kahveci, M. C. Rodop, MJ Mendes, and S. Gunes. "Effect of Bathocuproine Concentration on the Photovoltaic Performance of NiOx-Based Perovskite Solar Cells." Journal of the Mexican Chemical Society. 65 (2021): 149-160. AbstractWebsite
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Menda, U. D., G. Ribeiro, D. Nunes, T. Calmeiro, H. Águas, E. Fortunato, R. Martins, and MJ Mendes. "High-performance wide bandgap perovskite solar cells fabricated in ambient high-humidity conditions." Materials Advances. 2 (2021): 6344-6355. AbstractWebsite
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Alexandre, M., H. Águas, E. Fortunato, R. Martins, and MJ Mendes. "Light management with quantum nanostructured dots-in-host semiconductors." Light: Science and Applications. 10 (2021). AbstractWebsite
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Li, K., S. Haque, A. Martins, E. Fortunato, R. Martins, MJ Mendes, and C. S. Schuster. "Light trapping in solar cells: Simple design rules to maximize absorption." Optica. 7 (2020): 1377-1384. AbstractWebsite
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"Photonic Strategies for Photovoltaics: New Advances Beyond Optics." Modern Environmental Science and Engineering. 7 (2021): 642-652. AbstractWebsite
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Haque, Sirazul, Miguel Alexandre, Clemens Baretzky, Daniele Rossi, Francesca De Rossi, António T. Vicente, Francesca Brunetti, Hugo Águas, Rute A. S. Ferreira, Elvira Fortunato, Matthias Auf der Maur, Uli Würfel, Rodrigo Martins, and Manuel J. Mendes. "Photonic-Structured Perovskite Solar Cells: Detailed Optoelectronic Analysis." ACS Photonics. 9 (2022): 2408-2421. AbstractWebsite
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Sanchez-Sobrado, O., MJ Mendes, T. Mateus, J. Costa, D. Nunes, H. Aguas, E. Fortunato, and R. Martins. "Photonic-structured TCO front contacts yielding optical and electrically enhanced thin-film solar cells." Solar Energy. 196 (2020): 92-98. AbstractWebsite
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Centeno, P., M. F. Alexandre, M. Chapa, JV Pinto, J. Deuermeier, T. Mateus, E. Fortunato, R. Martins, H. Águas, and MJ Mendes. "Self-Cleaned Photonic-Enhanced Solar Cells with Nanostructured Parylene-C." Advanced Materials Interfaces. 7 (2020). AbstractWebsite
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Boane, Jenny L. N., Pedro Centeno, Ana Mouquinho, Miguel Alexandre, Tomás Calmeiro, Elvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins, Manuel J. Mendes, and Hugo Águas. "Soft-Microstructured Transparent Electrodes for Photonic-Enhanced Flexible Solar Cells." Micro. 1 (2021): 215-227. AbstractWebsite

Microstructured transparent conductive oxides (TCOs) have shown great potential as photonic electrodes in photovoltaic (PV) applications, providing both optical and electrical improvements in the solar cells’ performance due to: (1) strong light trapping effects that enhance broadband light absorption in PV material and (2) the reduced sheet resistance of the front illuminated contact. This work developed a method for the fabrication and optimization of wavelength-sized indium zinc oxide (IZO) microstructures, which were soft-patterned on flexible indium tin oxide (ITO)-coated poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) substrates via a simple, low-cost, versatile, and highly scalable colloidal lithography process. Using this method, the ITO-coated PET substrates patterned with IZO micro-meshes provided improved transparent electrodes endowed with strong light interaction effects—namely, a pronounced light scattering performance (diffuse transmittance up to  50%). In addition, the photonic-structured IZO mesh allowed a higher volume of TCO material in the electrode while maintaining the desired transparency, which led to a sheet resistance reduction (by  30%), thereby providing further electrical benefits due to the improvement of the contact conductance. The results reported herein pave the way for a new class of photonic transparent electrodes endowed with mechanical flexibility that offer strong potential not only as advanced front contacts for thin-film bendable solar cells but also for a much broader range of optoelectronic applications.

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Pimentel, A., A. Araújo, B. J. Coelho, D. Nunes, M. J. Oliveira, MJ Mendes, H. Águas, R. Martins, and E. Fortunato. "{3D ZnO/Ag surface-enhanced Raman scattering on disposable and flexible cardboard platforms}." Materials. 10 (2017). Abstract

© 2017 by the authors. In the present study, zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods (NRs) with a hexagonal structure have been synthesized via a hydrothermal method assisted by microwave radiation, using specialized cardboard materials as substrates. Cardboard-type substrates are cost-efficient and robust paper-based platforms that can be integrated into several opto-electronic applications for medical diagnostics, analysis and/or quality control devices. This class of substrates also enables highly-sensitive Raman molecular detection, amiable to several different operational environments and target surfaces. The structural characterization of the ZnO NR arrays has been carried out by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and optical measurements. The effects of the synthesis time (5-30 min) and temperature (70-130 °C) of the ZnO NR arrays decorated with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been investigated in view of their application for surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) molecular detection. The size and density of the ZnO NRs, as well as those of the AgNPs, are shown to play a central role in the final SERS response. A Raman enhancement factor of 7 × 105was obtained using rhodamine 6 G (RG6) as the test analyte; a ZnO NR array was produced for only 5 min at 70 °C. This condition presents higher ZnO NR and AgNP densities, thereby increasing the total number of plasmonic "hot-spots", their volume coverage and the number of analyte molecules that are subject to enhanced sensing.

Vicente, A. T., PJ Wojcik, MJ Mendes, H. Águas, E. Fortunato, and R. Martins. "{A statistics modeling approach for the optimization of thin film photovoltaic devices}." Solar Energy. 144 (2017). Abstract

© 2017 The growing interest in exploring thin film technologies to produce low cost devices such as n-i-p silicon solar cells, with outstanding performances and capability to address the highly relevant energy market, turns the optimization of their fabrication process a key area of development. The usual one-dimensional analysis of the involved parameters makes it difficult and time consuming to find the optimal set of conditions. To overcome these difficulties, the combination of experimental design and statistical analysis provides the tools to explore in a multidimensional fashion the interactions between fabrication parameters and expected experimental outputs. Design of Experiment and Multivariate Analysis are demonstrated here for the optimization of: (1) the low temperature deposition (150 °C) of high quality intrinsic amorphous silicon (i-a-Si:H); and (2) the matching of the n-, i-, and p-silicon layers thickness to maximize the efficiency of thin film solar cells. The multiple regression method applied, validated through analysis of variance and evaluated against exact numerical simulations, is shown to predict the overall intrinsic layer properties and the devices performance. The results confirm that experimental design and statistical data analysis are effective approaches to improve, within a minimum time frame and high certainty, the properties of silicon thin films, and subsequently the layer structure of solar cells.

Gaspar, D., AC Pimentel, MJ Mendes, T. Mateus, BP Falcão, JP Leitão, J. Soares, A. Araújo, A. Vicente, SA Filonovich, H. Águas, R. Martins, and I. Ferreira. "{Ag and Sn Nanoparticles to Enhance the Near-Infrared Absorbance of a-Si:H Thin Films}." Plasmonics. 9 (2014): 1015-1023. AbstractWebsite
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Chapa, Manuel, Miguel F. Alexandre, Manuel J. Mendes, Hugo Águas, Elvira Fortunato, and Rodrigo Martins. "{All-Thin-Film Perovskite/C-Si Four-Terminal Tandems: Interlayer and Intermediate Contacts Optimization}." ACS Applied Energy Materials. 2 (2019): 3979-3985. Abstract

Combined perovskite/crystalline-silicon four-terminal tandem solar cells promise {\textgreater}30{%} efficiencies. Here we propose all-thin-film double-junction architectures where high-bandgap perovskite top cells are coupled to ultrathin c-Si bottom cells enhanced with light trapping. A complete optoelectronic model of the devices was developed and applied to determine the optimal intermediate layers, which are paramount to maximize the cells' photocurrent. It was ascertained that by replacing the transparent conductive oxides by grid-based metallic contacts in the intermediate positions, the parasitic absorption is lowered by 30{%}. Overall, a 29.2{%} efficiency is determined for ∼2 um thick tandems composed of the optimized interlayers and improved with Lambertian light trapping.

Mendes, MJ, S. Morawiec, T. Mateus, A. Lyubchyk, H. Águas, I. Ferreira, E. Fortunato, R. Martins, F. Priolo, and I. Crupi. "{Broadband light trapping in thin film solar cells with self-organized plasmonic nanocolloids}." Nanotechnology. 26 (2015). Abstract

© 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd. The intense light scattered from metal nanoparticles sustaining surface plasmons makes them attractive for light trapping in photovoltaic applications. However, a strong resonant response from nanoparticle ensembles can only be obtained if the particles have monodisperse physical properties. Presently, the chemical synthesis of colloidal nanoparticles is the method that produces the highest monodispersion in geometry and material quality, with the added benefits of being low-temperature, low-cost, easily scalable and of allowing control of the surface coverage of the deposited particles. In this paper, novel plasmonic back-reflector structures were developed using spherical gold colloids with appropriate dimensions for pronounced far-field scattering. The plasmonic back reflectors are incorporated in the rear contact of thin film n-i-p nanocrystalline silicon solar cells to boost their photocurrent generation via optical path length enhancement inside the silicon layer. The quantum efficiency spectra of the devices revealed a remarkable broadband enhancement, resulting from both light scattering from the metal nanoparticles and improved light incoupling caused by the hemispherical corrugations at the cells' front surface formed from the deposition of material over the spherically shaped colloids.

Morawiec, Seweryn, Manuel J. Mendes, Sergej A. Filonovich, Tiago Mateus, Salvatore Mirabella, Hugo Águas, Isabel Ferreira, Francesca Simone, Elvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins, Francesco Priolo, and Isodiana Crupi. "{Broadband photocurrent enhancement in a-Si:H solar cells with plasmonic back reflectors}." Optics Express. 22 (2014): A1059-A1070. AbstractWebsite

Plasmonic light trapping in thin film silicon solar cells is a promising route to achieve high efficiency with reduced volumes of semiconductor material. In this paper, we study the enhancement in the opto-electronic performance of thin a-Si:H solar cells due to the light scattering effects of plasmonic back reflectors (PBRs), composed of self-assembled silver nanoparticles (NPs), incorporated on the cells{&}{\#}x2019; rear contact. The optical properties of the PBRs are investigated according to the morphology of the NPs, which can be tuned by the fabrication parameters. By analyzing sets of solar cells built on distinct PBRs we show that the photocurrent enhancement achieved in the a-Si:H light trapping window (600 {&}{\#}x2013; 800 nm) stays in linear relation with the PBRs diffuse reflection. The best-performing PBRs allow a pronounced broadband photocurrent enhancement in the cells which is attributed not only to the plasmon-assisted light scattering from the NPs but also to the front surface texture originated from the conformal growth of the cell material over the particles. As a result, remarkably high values of Jsc and Voc are achieved in comparison to those previously reported in the literature for the same type of devices.

Mendes, Manuel J., Howard K. Schmidt, and Matteo Pasquali. "{Brownian dynamics simulations of single-wall carbon nanotube separation by type using dielectrophoresis}." Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2008). AbstractWebsite
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Mendes, MJ, S. Morawiec, F. Simone, F. Priolo, and I. Crupi. "{Colloidal plasmonic back reflectors for light trapping in solar cells}." Nanoscale. 6 (2014). Abstract

A novel type of plasmonic light trapping structure is presented in this paper, composed of metal nanoparticles synthesized in colloidal solution and self-assembled in uniform long-range arrays using a wet-coating method. The high monodispersion in size and spherical shape of the gold colloids used in this work allows a precise match between their measured optical properties and electromagnetic simulations performed with Mie theory, and enables the full exploitation of their collective resonant plasmonic behavior for light-scattering applications. The colloidal arrays are integrated in plasmonic back reflector (PBR) structures aimed for light trapping in thin film solar cells. The PBRs exhibit high diffuse reflectance (up to 75{%}) in the red and near-infrared spectrum, which can pronouncedly enhance the near-bandgap photocurrent generated by the cells. Furthermore, the colloidal PBRs are fabricated by low-temperature ({\textless}120 °C) processes that allow their implementation, as a final step of the cell construction, in typical commercial thin film devices generally fabricated in a superstrate configuration. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.

Mendes, MJ, S. Morawiec, I. Crupi, F. Simone, and F. Priolo. "{Colloidal self-assembled nanosphere arrays for plasmon-enhanced light trapping in thin film silicon solar cells}." Energy Procedia. 2014. Abstract
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Sanchez-Sobrado, Olalla, Manuel J. Mendes, Sirazul Haque, Tiago Mateus, Andreia Araujo, Hugo Aguas, Elvira Fortunato, and Rodrigo Martins. "{Colloidal-lithographed TiO2 photonic nanostructures for solar cell light trapping}." J. Mater. Chem. C (2017). Abstract
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Torrisi, Giacomo, João S. Luis, Olalla Sanchez-Sobrado, Rosario Raciti, Manuel J. Mendes, Hugo Águas, Elvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins, and Antonio Terrasi. "{Colloidal-structured metallic micro-grids: High performance transparent electrodes in the red and infrared range}." Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells. 197 (2019): 7-12. Abstract

One of the most promising approaches to produce industrial-compatible Transparent Conducting Materials (TCMs) with excellent characteristics is the fabrication of TCO/metal/TCO multilayers. In this article, we report on the electro-optical properties of a novel high-performing TCO/metal/TCO structure in which the intra-layer is a micro-structured metallic grid instead of a continuous thin film. The grid is obtained by evaporation of Ag through a mask of polystyrene colloidal micro-spheres deposited by the Langmuir-Blodgett method and partially dry-etched in plasma. IZO/Ag grid/IZO structures with different thicknesses and mesh dimensions have been fabricated, exhibiting excellent electrical characteristics (sheet resistance below 10 $Ømega$/□) and particularly high optical transmittance in the near-infrared spectral region as compared to planar (unstructured) TCM multilayers. Numerical simulations were also used to highlight the role of the Ag mesh parameters on the electrical properties.