The present study utilized a template-assisted electrodeposition route for the bottom-up epitaxial growth of macroporous zinc oxide nanostructures. To this end, the ZnO seed layer was coated on the p-type silicon substrates using a radio frequency magnetron sputtering technique to form a p-n heterojunction. Then, polymer microspheres were implanted on ZnO/Si substrates to act as a template. Subsequently, ZnO nanostructures were electrodeposited through the interstitial spaces between the microspheres. After the deposition, the microspheres were removed by dissolving in chloroform solvent, forming a porous structure. The planar and cross-sectional electron microscopy analyses exhibited a uniform macroporous morphology with an average pore diameter of ∼1 μm. The pores were homogeneously distributed on the surface of the electrodeposited ZnO layer. The advantage of this technique over the top-down approaches, such as electrochemical etching, is that the porosity and size of pores can be easily adjusted by varying the concentration and diameter of microsphere templates. The optical investigations revealed enhancement in photon absorption and photoluminescence (PL) intensity due to multiple light scattering in the pore walls of the deposited ZnO nanostructures. For the templated sample, a PL blue shift was observed due to the reduction in crystallite size of ZnO nanostructures. A heterojunction thin film solar cell was designed by the metallization of ZnO/p-Si samples to study the power conversion capability of macroporous ZnO nanostructures. The photovoltaic performance of the developed devices was evaluated under a solar light simulator. The device based on the templated sample showed increased shunt resistance and reduced series resistance compared to the flat sample. The optoelectrical results indicated an efficiency improvement for the fabricated solar cells based on the macroporous ZnO sample due to its higher exposed area and increased rate of electron-hole generation.
- Heterojunction solar cells
- Photon capture
- Porous ZnO
- Template-assisted electrodeposition