Ott, A.; Ring, S.; Yin, G.; Calvet, W.; Stannowski, B.; Lu, Y.; Schlatmann, R.; Ballauff, M.: Efficient Plasmonic Scattering of Colloidal Silver Particles Through Annealing-Induced Changes. Nanotechnology 25 (2014), p. 455706/1-8

We present an experimental study on the influence of annealing temperature on morphological changes of colloidal silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) and their optical response. Monodisperse colloidal Ag NPs with diameter of 164 nm± 15 nm have been fabricated by a facile two-step synthesis approach. The annealing effects on the Ag NPs have been investigated by means of optical measurements, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction. By annealing up to 440 °C morphology and chemical compositions of the Ag NPs changed. These changes affect the particle size and distribution, surface morphology, crystallinity and, most importantly, the oxidation state of the surface layer. The removal of an oxide layer leads to stronger light scattering from the nanoparticles and decreases parasitic light absorption at wavelengths above 400 nm. Strong light trapping has been observed for a silicon thin film with embedded annealed Ag NPs. This study demonstrates that colloidal Ag NPs for plasmonic solar cells need to be carefully processed and that they can potentially achieve high scatter efficiencies.