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Title: Two-Dimensional Cadmium Chloride Nanosheets in Cadmium Telluride Solar Cells

In this paper we make use of a liquid nitrogen-based thermomechanical cleavage technique and a surface analysis cluster tool to probe in detail the tin oxide/emitter interface at the front of completed CdTe solar cells. We show that this thermomechanical cleavage occurs within a few angstroms of the SnO 2/emitter interface. An unexpectedly high concentration of chlorine at this interface, ~20%, was determined from a calculation that assumed a uniform chlorine distribution. Angle-resolved X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was used to further probe the structure of the chlorine-containing layer, revealing that both sides of the cleave location are covered by one-third of a unit cell of pure CdCl 2, a thickness corresponding to about one Cl-Cd-Cl molecular layer. We interpret this result in the context of CdCl 2 being a true layered material similar to transition-metal dichalcogenides. Exposing cleaved surfaces to water shows that this Cl-Cd-Cl trilayer is soluble, raising questions pertinent to cell reliability. Our work provides new and unanticipated details about the structure and chemistry of front surface interfaces and should prove important to improving materials, processes, and reliability of next-generation CdTe-based solar cells.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1944-8244; TRN: US1701990
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 24; Journal ID: ISSN 1944-8244
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (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; cadmium chloride; cadmium telluride; nanosheets; solar cells; XPS
OSTI Identifier: