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Title: Sputtered p-Type Cu xZn 1–xS Back Contact to CdTe Solar Cells

Abstract

As thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells gain prominence, one particular challenge is optimizing contacts and their interfaces to transfer charge without losses in efficiency. Back contact recombination is still significant and will prevent CdTe solar technology from reaching its full potential in device efficiency, and transparent back contacts have not been developed for bifacial solar technology or multijunction solar cells. To address these challenges, here we investigate sputtered Cu xZn 1–xS as a p-type semi-transparent back contact material to thin-film polycrystalline CdTe solar cells at Cu concentrations x = 0.30, 0.45, and 0.60. This material is selected for its high hole conductivity (160–2120 S cm –1), wide optical band gap (2.25–2.75 eV), and variable ionization potential (approximately 6–7 eV) that can be aligned to that of CdTe. We report that without device optimization, CdTe solar cells with these Cu xZn 1–xS back contacts perform as well as control cells with standard ZnTe:Cu back contacts. We observe no reduction in external quantum efficiency, low contact barrier heights of approximately 0.3 eV, and carrier lifetimes on par with those of baseline CdTe. These cells are relatively stable over one year in air, with V OC and efficiency of the x =more » 0.30 cell decreasing by only 1 and 3%, respectively. Using scanning electron microscopy and scanning transmission electron microscopy to investigate the Cu xZn 1–xS/CdTe interface, we demonstrate that the Cu xZn 1–xS layer segregates into a bilayer of Cu-Te-S and Zn-Cd-S, and thermodynamic reaction calculations support these findings. Despite its bilayer formation, the back contact still functions well. This investigation explains some of the physical mechanisms governing the device stack, inspires future work to understand interfacial chemistry and charge transfer, and elicits optimization to achieve higher-efficiency CdTe cells.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  3. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES); National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1660149
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5K00-76204
Journal ID: ISSN 2574-0962; MainId:6987;UUID:dc3d219f-f857-ea11-9c31-ac162d87dfe5;MainAdminID:15204
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308; DGE1106400; DGE1752814
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
ACS Applied Energy Materials
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2574-0962
Publisher:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; CdTe photovoltaics; copper zinc sulfide; solar cell back contact design; transparent semiconductors; solar cell interfaces

Citation Formats

Woods-Robinson, Rachel, Ablekim, Tursun, Norman, Andrew, Johnston, Steve, Persson, Kristin A., Reese, Matthew O., Metzger, Wyatt K., and Zakutayev, Andriy. Sputtered p-Type CuxZn1–xS Back Contact to CdTe Solar Cells. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1021/acsaem.0c00413.
Woods-Robinson, Rachel, Ablekim, Tursun, Norman, Andrew, Johnston, Steve, Persson, Kristin A., Reese, Matthew O., Metzger, Wyatt K., & Zakutayev, Andriy. Sputtered p-Type CuxZn1–xS Back Contact to CdTe Solar Cells. United States. doi:10.1021/acsaem.0c00413.
Woods-Robinson, Rachel, Ablekim, Tursun, Norman, Andrew, Johnston, Steve, Persson, Kristin A., Reese, Matthew O., Metzger, Wyatt K., and Zakutayev, Andriy. Wed . "Sputtered p-Type CuxZn1–xS Back Contact to CdTe Solar Cells". United States. doi:10.1021/acsaem.0c00413.
@article{osti_1660149,
title = {Sputtered p-Type CuxZn1–xS Back Contact to CdTe Solar Cells},
author = {Woods-Robinson, Rachel and Ablekim, Tursun and Norman, Andrew and Johnston, Steve and Persson, Kristin A. and Reese, Matthew O. and Metzger, Wyatt K. and Zakutayev, Andriy},
abstractNote = {As thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells gain prominence, one particular challenge is optimizing contacts and their interfaces to transfer charge without losses in efficiency. Back contact recombination is still significant and will prevent CdTe solar technology from reaching its full potential in device efficiency, and transparent back contacts have not been developed for bifacial solar technology or multijunction solar cells. To address these challenges, here we investigate sputtered CuxZn1–xS as a p-type semi-transparent back contact material to thin-film polycrystalline CdTe solar cells at Cu concentrations x = 0.30, 0.45, and 0.60. This material is selected for its high hole conductivity (160–2120 S cm–1), wide optical band gap (2.25–2.75 eV), and variable ionization potential (approximately 6–7 eV) that can be aligned to that of CdTe. We report that without device optimization, CdTe solar cells with these CuxZn1–xS back contacts perform as well as control cells with standard ZnTe:Cu back contacts. We observe no reduction in external quantum efficiency, low contact barrier heights of approximately 0.3 eV, and carrier lifetimes on par with those of baseline CdTe. These cells are relatively stable over one year in air, with VOC and efficiency of the x = 0.30 cell decreasing by only 1 and 3%, respectively. Using scanning electron microscopy and scanning transmission electron microscopy to investigate the CuxZn1–xS/CdTe interface, we demonstrate that the CuxZn1–xS layer segregates into a bilayer of Cu-Te-S and Zn-Cd-S, and thermodynamic reaction calculations support these findings. Despite its bilayer formation, the back contact still functions well. This investigation explains some of the physical mechanisms governing the device stack, inspires future work to understand interfacial chemistry and charge transfer, and elicits optimization to achieve higher-efficiency CdTe cells.},
doi = {10.1021/acsaem.0c00413},
journal = {ACS Applied Energy Materials},
issn = {2574-0962},
number = 6,
volume = 3,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {5}
}

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