Effect of sputtered silver (Ag) thin film thickness towards morphological and optical properties of black silicon (b-Si) fabricated by two-step silver-assisted wet chemical etching for solar cells applications is investigated. The method involves low temperature annealing of crystalline silicon (c-Si) coated with Ag thin films of 10 nm, 15 nm, and 25 nm. This is followed by an etching in a solution of HF:H2O2:DI H2O (1:5:10 volume ratio) at room temperature for 70 s. Dense and spherical Ag NPs with an average diameter of 203 Â± 17.8 nm and surface coverage of about 72.5% are achieved on a sample with Ag film thickness of 15 nm prior to the annealing process. After the etching, the average nanoporesâ€™ height of ~420 nm with an average diameter of ~200 nm owing to denser Ag NPs on the c-Si surface before the etching are obtained. Optical absorption enhancement due to low weight average reflection (WAR) within wavelength region of 300â€“1100 nm is observed on the b-Si wafers. Sample with 15 nm of Ag thin film prior to annealing, demonstrates WAR of 7.7% compared 40.0% of the reference planar c-Si. The low WAR is due to the efficient light coupling effect of the b-Si nanopores. The fabricated b-Si nanopores can be used in b-Si solar cells for enhanced optical absorption and high photocurrent in the future.
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