Ambiance-dependent Agglomeration and Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Response of Self-assembled Silver Nano-particles for Plasmonic Photovoltaic Devices

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The agglomeration/dewetting process of thin silver films provides a scalable method of obtaining self-assembled nanoparticles (SANPs) for plasmonics based thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) devices. Here, we show the effect of annealing ambiance on silver SANP average size, particle/cluster finite shape, substrate area coverage/particle distribution and how these physical parameters influence optical properties and surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) responses of SANPs. Statistical analysis performed indicates that generally Ag SANPs processed in the presence of a gas (Argon and Nitrogen) ambiance tend to have smaller average size particles compared to those processed under vacuum. Optical properties are observed to be highly dependent on particle size, separation distance as well as finite shape. The greatest SERS enhancement was observed for the argon processed samples. There is a correlation between simulation and experimental data that indicate argon processed AgNPs have a great potential to enhance light coupling when integrated to thin-film PV.


Photovoltaics (PV), Raman scattering, Plasmonics, Agglomeration, Self-assembly, Thin-film PV, Optical properties.

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