3 years ago

Obtaining Large Columnar CdTe Grains and Long Lifetime on Nanocrystalline CdSe, MgZnO, or CdS Layers

Obtaining Large Columnar CdTe Grains and Long Lifetime on Nanocrystalline CdSe, MgZnO, or CdS Layers
Siva Sivananthan, Jason Kephart, David Albin, Eric Colegrove, Wyatt K. Metzger, Mowafak Al-Jassim, Joel Duenow, John Moseley, Soren Jensen, Walajabad Sampath, Mahisha Amarasinghe, Helio Moutinho
CdTe solar cells have reached efficiencies comparable to multicrystalline silicon and produce electricity at costs competitive with traditional energy sources. Recent efficiency gains have come partly from shifting from the traditional CdS window layer to new materials such as CdSe and MgZnO, yet substantial headroom still exists to improve performance. Thin film technologies including Cu(In,Ga)Se2, perovskites, Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4, and CdTe inherently have many grain boundaries that can form recombination centers and impede carrier transport; however, grain boundary engineering has been difficult and not practical. In this work, it is demonstrated that wide columnar grains reaching through the entire CdTe layer can be achieved by aggressive postdeposition CdTe recrystallization. This reduces the grain structure constraints imposed by nucleation on nanocrystalline window layers and enables diverse window layers to be selected for other properties critical for electro-optical applications. Computational simulations indicate that increasing grain size from 1 to 7 µm can be equivalent to decreasing grain-boundary recombination velocity by three orders of magnitude. Here, large high-quality grains enable CdTe lifetimes exceeding 50 ns. Controlling thin film grain structure is challenging and can help realize solar electricity costs below conventional sources. Here, large columnar CdTe grains are achieved by aggressive recrystallization that circumvents nucleation constraints imposed by depositing on different nanocrystalline layers. The resulting films have reduced grain boundary and bulk recombination, enabling excellent transport, and carrier lifetimes.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201702666

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