We report on the multiwall carbon nanotube application as energy conversion material to fabricate thin film solar cells, with nanotubes acting as photogeneration sites as well as charge separators, collectors and carrier transporters. The device consists of a semitransparent thin film
of nanotubes coating a n-type crystalline silicon substrate. Under illumination electron–hole (e–h) pairs, generated in the nanotubes and in the silicon substrate underneath, are split and charges are transported through the nanotubes (electrons) and the n-Si (holes).
We found that a suitable thickness of the nanotube thin film, high density of Schottky junctions between nanotubes and n-Si and lowest number of nanotube walls are all fundamental parameters to improve the device incident photon to electron conversion efficiency. Multiwall carbon nanotubes
have been synthesized by chemical vapour deposition in an ultra high vacuum chamber by evaporating a given amount of iron at room temperature and then exposing the substrate kept at 800 °C at acetylene gas. The amount of deposited iron is found to directly affect the nanotube size distribution
(inner and outer diameter) and therefore the number of walls of the nanotubes.
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