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Title: Improved Performance of Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 PV Modules Using the Reaction of Metal Precursors

Abstract

This project “Improved Performance of Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 PV Modules using the Reaction of Metal Precursors” was a partnership led by the Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC) at the University of Delaware with Columbia University and the Molecular Foundry at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The aim was to develop pathways to improve Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 (CIGSS) thin film photovoltaic modules using processes compatible with low manufacturing cost. The CIGSS approach investigated was a two-step process including deposition of metal precursor films following by reaction in hydride gases utilizing IEC’s novel reactor. The process was similar to that under commercial development by the project’s industry partner Stion. When Stion went out of business mid-project the focus changed to a rapid thermal process considered more commercially viable. Approaches to improve the performance of solar cells using the reacted films focused on two material innovations. First, the overall Ga content was increased to increase the operating voltage, which is desirable for scale-up to commercial modules. Second, the processing and performance advantages arising from Ag alloying were investigated. Advanced characterization guided process and material development including control of relative composition gradients. Research on the formation of Cu-Ga-In metal precursors utilized sputtering deposition which is normally used inmore » commercial applications. The work resulted in processes for deposition of precursor stacks with increased relative Ga content and effects of deposition parameters on morphology and phase composition were established. It was shown that the metal precursor films have comparable phase composition and morphology so subsequent reaction follows from the same starting point. The addition of Ag to the metal precursors gave more uniform morphology and improved adhesion of reacted films which enable higher reaction temperature for faster processing. A novel outcome was the discovery of a previously undocumented material phase in sputter-deposited and evaporated Ag-Cu-In-Ga thin films. Hydride gas reaction processes including time-temperature-concentration profiles were developed for different precursor compositions. This enables control of composition profiles to engineer through-film gradients for solar cell optimization with characterization and simulations used to correlate measured film composition profiles to measurements of devices. In particular, the gradient of sulfur at the front of the CIGSS film was found to be critical. The simulations guided process development leading to improved reproducibility of devices improved performance with higher Ga content and higher voltage. With Ag-alloyed precursors, the reaction pathways leading were determined. A significant finding was that Ag-alloying increases the reaction rate to completely convert precursor films to the final chalcopyrite which could enable reduced reaction time to benefit manufacturability. To maintain potential commercial viability, the process under investigation was refocused to a rapid thermal process that could potentially be incorporated into an in-line process for manufacturing. Precursors with different composition were capped with an extra selenium layer and reacted in hydrogen sulfide 5-15 minutes, compared to typically 2 hours in the previous multi-step batch process. Critical RTP parameters were identified to control the reaction. Further optimization would be needed for high efficiency solar cells but pathways to high quality devices with further optimization and improved heating uniformity were developed. The project also developed new optoelectronic characterization approaches with a focus on development and application of spatial- and time-resolved photoluminescence and a custom mapping photoluminescence microscope built. It was shown how critical electronic transport properties strongly depend on the chemical composition of the material and that a wide range of samples show inhomogeneity on a length scale larger than the grains in the films. Additionally, two-photon excitation capability was developed to distinguish bulk vs surface losses. The project advances the state-of-the -art for precursor reaction processes in several ways that could impact manufacturing. This includes validation of approaches to increase voltage and establishment of model-guided control to form optimal composition profiles. The application of process control approaches with knowledge of phase formation and reaction pathways can be critically valuable in designing a large-scale process.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1771314
Report Number(s):
Final Report: DOE-UD-07542
DOE Contract Number:  
EE0007542
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Shafarman, William. Improved Performance of Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 PV Modules Using the Reaction of Metal Precursors. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.2172/1771314.
Shafarman, William. Improved Performance of Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 PV Modules Using the Reaction of Metal Precursors. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1771314
Shafarman, William. 2020. "Improved Performance of Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 PV Modules Using the Reaction of Metal Precursors". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1771314. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1771314.
@article{osti_1771314,
title = {Improved Performance of Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 PV Modules Using the Reaction of Metal Precursors},
author = {Shafarman, William},
abstractNote = {This project “Improved Performance of Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 PV Modules using the Reaction of Metal Precursors” was a partnership led by the Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC) at the University of Delaware with Columbia University and the Molecular Foundry at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The aim was to develop pathways to improve Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 (CIGSS) thin film photovoltaic modules using processes compatible with low manufacturing cost. The CIGSS approach investigated was a two-step process including deposition of metal precursor films following by reaction in hydride gases utilizing IEC’s novel reactor. The process was similar to that under commercial development by the project’s industry partner Stion. When Stion went out of business mid-project the focus changed to a rapid thermal process considered more commercially viable. Approaches to improve the performance of solar cells using the reacted films focused on two material innovations. First, the overall Ga content was increased to increase the operating voltage, which is desirable for scale-up to commercial modules. Second, the processing and performance advantages arising from Ag alloying were investigated. Advanced characterization guided process and material development including control of relative composition gradients. Research on the formation of Cu-Ga-In metal precursors utilized sputtering deposition which is normally used in commercial applications. The work resulted in processes for deposition of precursor stacks with increased relative Ga content and effects of deposition parameters on morphology and phase composition were established. It was shown that the metal precursor films have comparable phase composition and morphology so subsequent reaction follows from the same starting point. The addition of Ag to the metal precursors gave more uniform morphology and improved adhesion of reacted films which enable higher reaction temperature for faster processing. A novel outcome was the discovery of a previously undocumented material phase in sputter-deposited and evaporated Ag-Cu-In-Ga thin films. Hydride gas reaction processes including time-temperature-concentration profiles were developed for different precursor compositions. This enables control of composition profiles to engineer through-film gradients for solar cell optimization with characterization and simulations used to correlate measured film composition profiles to measurements of devices. In particular, the gradient of sulfur at the front of the CIGSS film was found to be critical. The simulations guided process development leading to improved reproducibility of devices improved performance with higher Ga content and higher voltage. With Ag-alloyed precursors, the reaction pathways leading were determined. A significant finding was that Ag-alloying increases the reaction rate to completely convert precursor films to the final chalcopyrite which could enable reduced reaction time to benefit manufacturability. To maintain potential commercial viability, the process under investigation was refocused to a rapid thermal process that could potentially be incorporated into an in-line process for manufacturing. Precursors with different composition were capped with an extra selenium layer and reacted in hydrogen sulfide 5-15 minutes, compared to typically 2 hours in the previous multi-step batch process. Critical RTP parameters were identified to control the reaction. Further optimization would be needed for high efficiency solar cells but pathways to high quality devices with further optimization and improved heating uniformity were developed. The project also developed new optoelectronic characterization approaches with a focus on development and application of spatial- and time-resolved photoluminescence and a custom mapping photoluminescence microscope built. It was shown how critical electronic transport properties strongly depend on the chemical composition of the material and that a wide range of samples show inhomogeneity on a length scale larger than the grains in the films. Additionally, two-photon excitation capability was developed to distinguish bulk vs surface losses. The project advances the state-of-the -art for precursor reaction processes in several ways that could impact manufacturing. This includes validation of approaches to increase voltage and establishment of model-guided control to form optimal composition profiles. The application of process control approaches with knowledge of phase formation and reaction pathways can be critically valuable in designing a large-scale process.},
doi = {10.2172/1771314},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1771314}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {12}
}