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Title: A Two-Step Absorber Deposition Approach To Overcome Shunt Losses in Thin-Film Solar Cells: Using Tin Sulfide as a Proof-of-Concept Material System

As novel absorber materials are developed and screened for their photovoltaic (PV) properties, the challenge remains to reproducibly test promising candidates for high-performing PV devices. Many early-stage devices are prone to device shunting due to pinholes in the absorber layer, producing 'false-negative' results. Here, we demonstrate a device engineering solution toward a robust device architecture, using a two-step absorber deposition approach. We use tin sulfide (SnS) as a test absorber material. The SnS bulk is processed at high temperature (400 degrees C) to stimulate grain growth, followed by a much thinner, low-temperature (200 degrees C) absorber deposition. At a lower process temperature, the thin absorber overlayer contains significantly smaller, densely packed grains, which are likely to provide a continuous coating and fill pinholes in the underlying absorber bulk. We compare this two-step approach to the more standard approach of using a semi-insulating buffer layer directly on top of the annealed absorber bulk, and we demonstrate a more than 3.5x superior shunt resistance Rsh with smaller standard error ..sigma..Rsh. Electron-beam-induced current (EBIC) measurements indicate a lower density of pinholes in the SnS absorber bulk when using the two-step absorber deposition approach. We correlate those findings to improvements in the device performancemore » and device performance reproducibility.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1944-8244
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces; Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 34
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE device shunting; novel absorber materials; performance reliability; photovoltaics; thin-films; tin sulfide