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Title: Novel Approaches to Wide Bandgap CuInSe2 Based Absorbers

Abstract

This project targeted the development of high performance wide bandgap solar cells based on thin film alloys of CuInSe2 to relax constraints on module design and enable tandem solar cell structures. This addressed goals of the Solar Energy Technologies Program for Next Generation PV to develop technology needed for higher thin film module efficiency as a means to reduce costs. Specific objectives of the research project were: 1) to develop the processes and materials required to improve the performance of wide bandgap thin film solar cells based on alloys of CuInSe2, and 2) to provide the fundamental science and engineering basis for the material, electronic, and device properties required to effectively apply these processes and materials to commercial manufacture. CuInSe2-based photovoltaics have established the highest efficiencies of the thin film materials at both the cell and module scales and are actively being scaled up to commercialization. In the highest efficiency cells and modules, the optical bandgap, a function of the CuInSe2-based alloy composition, is relatively low compared to the optimum match to the solar spectrum. Wider bandgap alloys of CuInSe2 produce higher cell voltages which can improve module performance and enable the development of tandem solar cells to boost themore » overall efficiency. A focus for the project was alloying with silver to form (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 pentenary thin films deposited by elemental co-evaporation which gives the broadest range of control of composition and material properties. This alloy has a lower melting temperature than Ag-free, Cu-based chalcopyrite compounds, which may enable films to be formed with lower defect densities and the (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 films give improved material properties and better device performance with increasing bandgap. A comprehensive characterization of optical, structural, and electronic properties of (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 was completed over the complete compositional range 0 ≤ Ga/(In+Ga) ≤ 1 and 0 ≤ Ag/(Ag+Cu) ≤ 1. Evidence of improved material quality includes reduced sub-bandgap optical absorption, sharper bandtails, and increased grain size with Ag addition. The Ag alloying was shown to increase the range of bandgaps over which solar cells can be fabricated without any drop-off in performance. With bandgap greater than 1.6 eV, in the range needed for tandem solar cells, (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 gave higher efficiency than other CuInSe2-based alloys. Using a simple single-stage co-evaporation process, a solar cell with 17.6% efficiency using a film with bandgap = 1.3 eV was achieved, demonstrating the viability of (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 for high efficiency devices. With a three-stage co-evaporation process for (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 deposition a device with efficiency = 13.0 % and VOC = 890 mV with JSC = 20.5 mA/cm2, FF = 71.3% was achieved. This surpasses the performance of other wide bandgap CuInSe2-based solar cells. Detailed characterization of the electronic properties of the materials and devices including the application of advanced admittance-based easements was completed.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE); USDOE EERE Office of Solar Energy Technology (EE-2A)
OSTI Identifier:
1012463
Report Number(s):
Final Scientific
TRN: US201111%%395
DOE Contract Number:  
FG36-08GO18019
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; ABSORPTION; ALLOYS; CHALCOPYRITE; COMMERCIALIZATION; DEFECTS; DEPOSITION; DESIGN; EFFICIENCY; GRAIN SIZE; MELTING; PERFORMANCE; SILVER; SOLAR CELLS; SOLAR ENERGY; THIN FILMS; VIABILITY; Photovoltaics; thin film; wide bandgap; tandem solar cells

Citation Formats

Shafarman, William N. Novel Approaches to Wide Bandgap CuInSe2 Based Absorbers. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.2172/1012463.
Shafarman, William N. Novel Approaches to Wide Bandgap CuInSe2 Based Absorbers. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1012463
Shafarman, William N. 2011. "Novel Approaches to Wide Bandgap CuInSe2 Based Absorbers". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1012463. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1012463.
@article{osti_1012463,
title = {Novel Approaches to Wide Bandgap CuInSe2 Based Absorbers},
author = {Shafarman, William N},
abstractNote = {This project targeted the development of high performance wide bandgap solar cells based on thin film alloys of CuInSe2 to relax constraints on module design and enable tandem solar cell structures. This addressed goals of the Solar Energy Technologies Program for Next Generation PV to develop technology needed for higher thin film module efficiency as a means to reduce costs. Specific objectives of the research project were: 1) to develop the processes and materials required to improve the performance of wide bandgap thin film solar cells based on alloys of CuInSe2, and 2) to provide the fundamental science and engineering basis for the material, electronic, and device properties required to effectively apply these processes and materials to commercial manufacture. CuInSe2-based photovoltaics have established the highest efficiencies of the thin film materials at both the cell and module scales and are actively being scaled up to commercialization. In the highest efficiency cells and modules, the optical bandgap, a function of the CuInSe2-based alloy composition, is relatively low compared to the optimum match to the solar spectrum. Wider bandgap alloys of CuInSe2 produce higher cell voltages which can improve module performance and enable the development of tandem solar cells to boost the overall efficiency. A focus for the project was alloying with silver to form (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 pentenary thin films deposited by elemental co-evaporation which gives the broadest range of control of composition and material properties. This alloy has a lower melting temperature than Ag-free, Cu-based chalcopyrite compounds, which may enable films to be formed with lower defect densities and the (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 films give improved material properties and better device performance with increasing bandgap. A comprehensive characterization of optical, structural, and electronic properties of (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 was completed over the complete compositional range 0 ≤ Ga/(In+Ga) ≤ 1 and 0 ≤ Ag/(Ag+Cu) ≤ 1. Evidence of improved material quality includes reduced sub-bandgap optical absorption, sharper bandtails, and increased grain size with Ag addition. The Ag alloying was shown to increase the range of bandgaps over which solar cells can be fabricated without any drop-off in performance. With bandgap greater than 1.6 eV, in the range needed for tandem solar cells, (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 gave higher efficiency than other CuInSe2-based alloys. Using a simple single-stage co-evaporation process, a solar cell with 17.6% efficiency using a film with bandgap = 1.3 eV was achieved, demonstrating the viability of (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 for high efficiency devices. With a three-stage co-evaporation process for (AgCu)(InGa)Se2 deposition a device with efficiency = 13.0 % and VOC = 890 mV with JSC = 20.5 mA/cm2, FF = 71.3% was achieved. This surpasses the performance of other wide bandgap CuInSe2-based solar cells. Detailed characterization of the electronic properties of the materials and devices including the application of advanced admittance-based easements was completed.},
doi = {10.2172/1012463},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1012463}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {4}
}