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Author ORCID ID is 0000000180915718
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  1. Here, Group-V element doping is promising for simultaneously maximizing the hole concentration and minority carrier lifetime in CdTe for thin film solar cells, but there are roadblocks concerning point defects including the possibility of self-compensation by AX metastability. Herein, we report on doping, lifetime, and mobility of CdTe single crystals doped with As between 10 16 and 10 20 cm –3 grown from the Cd solvent by the travelling heater method. Evidence consistent with AX instability as a major contributor to compensation in samples doped below 10 17 cm –3 is presented, while for higher-doped samples, precipitation of a secondmore » phase on planar structural defects is also observed and may explain spatial variation in properties such as lifetime. Rapid cooling after crystal growth increases doping efficiency and mobility for times up to 20–30 days at room temperature with the highest efficiencies observed close to 45% and a hole mobility of 70 cm 2/Vs at room temperature. A doping limit in the low 10 17/cm 3 range is observed for samples quenched at 200–300 °C/h. Bulk minority carrier lifetimes exceeding 20 ns are observed for samples doped near 10 16 cm –3 relaxed in the dark and for unintentionally doped samples, while a lifetime of nearly 5 ns is observed for 10 18 cm –3 As doping. These results help us to establish limits on properties expected for group-V doped CdTe polycrystalline thin films for use in photovoltaics.« less
  2. We applied time-resolved pump-probe spectroscopy based on free carrier absorption and light diffraction on a transient grating for direct measurements of the carrier lifetime and diffusion coefficient D in high-resistivity single crystal CdTe (codoped with In and Er). The bulk carrier lifetime t decreased from 670 +/-50 ns to 60 +/- 10 ns with increase of excess carrier density N from 10 16 to 5 x 10 18cm -3 due to the excitation-dependent radiative recombination rate. In this N range, the carrier diffusion length dropped from 14 um to 6 um due to lifetime decrease. Modeling of in-depth (axial) andmore » in-plane (lateral) carrier diffusion provided the value of surface recombination velocity S = 6 x 10 5 cm/s for the untreated surface. At even higher excitations, in the 10 19-3 x 10 20 cm -3 density range, D increase from 5 to 20 cm^2/s due to carrier degeneracy was observed.« less
  3. We analyze the temperature-dependent dark saturation current density and open-circuit voltage (VOC) for GaAs, GaInP, and AlGaInP solar cells from 25 to 400 degrees C. As expected, the intrinsic carrier concentration, ni, dominates the temperature dependence of the dark currents. However, at 400 degrees C, we measure VOC that is ~50 mV higher for the GaAs solar cell and ~60-110 mV lower for the GaInP and AlGaInP solar cells compared to what would be expected from commonly used solar cell models that consider only the ni2 temperature dependence. To better understand these deviations, we measure the carrier lifetimes of p-typemore » GaAs, GaInP, and AlGaInP double heterostructures (DHs) from 25 to 400 degrees C using time-resolved photoluminescence. Temperature-dependent minority carrier lifetimes are analyzed to determine the relative contributions of the radiative recombination, interface recombination, Shockley-Read-Hall recombination, and thermionic emission processes. We find that radiative recombination dominates for the GaAs DHs with the effective lifetime approximately doubling as the temperature is increased from 25 degrees C to 400 degrees C. In contrast, we find that thermionic emission dominates for the GaInP and AlGaInP DHs at elevated temperatures, leading to a 3-4x reduction in the effective lifetime and ~40x increase in the surface recombination velocity as the temperature is increased from 25 degrees C to 400 degrees C. These observations suggest that optimization of the minority carrier confinement layers for the GaInP and AlGaInP solar cells could help to improve VOC and solar cell efficiency at elevated temperatures. We demonstrate VOC improvement at 200-400 degrees C in GaInP solar cells fabricated with modified AlGaInP window and back surface field layers.« less
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  4. Two-photon excitation (2PE) microscopy allows contactless and non-destructive cross-sectional analysis of grain-boundary (GB) and grain-interior (GI) properties in polycrystalline solar cells, with measurements of doping uniformity, space-charge field distribution, and carrier dynamics in different regions of the device. Using 2PE time-resolved microscopy, we analyzed charge-carrier lifetimes near the GBs and in the GI of polycrystalline thin-film CdTe solar cells doped with As. When the grain radius is larger than the minority-carrier diffusion length, GI lifetimes are interpreted as the bulk lifetimes ..tau..B, and GB recombination velocity SGB is extracted by comparing recombination rates in the GI and near GBs. Inmore » As-doped CdTe solar cells, we find ..tau..B = 1.0-2.4 ns and S GB = (1-4) x 10 5 cm/s. The results imply the potential to improve solar cell voltage via GB passivation and reduced recombination center concentration in the GI.« less
  5. Cd-rich composition and group-V element doping are of interest for simultaneously maximizing the hole concentration and minority carrier lifetime in CdTe, but the critical details concerning point defects are not yet fully established. Herein, we report on the properties of arsenic doped CdTe single crystals grown from Cd solvent by the travelling heater method. The photoluminescence spectra and activation energy of 74 +/- 2 meV derived from the temperature-dependent Hall effect are consistent with AsTe as the dominant acceptor. Doping in the 10^16 to 10^17/cm^3 range is achieved for measured As concentrations between 10^16 and 10^20/cm^3 with the highest dopingmore » efficiency of 40% occurring near 10^17 As/cm^3. We observe persistent photoconductivity, a hallmark of light-induced metastable configuration changes consistent with AX behavior. Additionally, quenching experiments reveal at least two mechanisms of increased p-type doping in the dark, one decaying over 2-3 weeks and the other persisting for at least 2 months. These results provide essential insights for the application of As-doped CdTe in thin film solar cells.« less
  6. From time- and spatially resolved optical measurements, we show that extended defects can have a large effect on the charge-carrier recombination in II-VI semiconductors. In CdTe double heterostructures grown by molecular beam epitaxy on the InSb (100)-orientation substrates, we characterized the extended defects and found that near stacking faults the space-charge field extends by 2-5 μm. Charge carriers drift (with the space-charge field strength of 730-1,360 V cm -1) and diffuse (with the mobility of 260 ± 30 cm 2 V -1 s -1) toward the extended defects, where the minority-carrier lifetime is reduced from 560 ns to 0.25 ns.more » Furthermore, the extended defects are nonradiative recombination sinks that affect areas significantly larger than the typical crystalline grains in II-VI solar cells. From the correlative time-resolved photoluminescence and second-harmonic generation microscopy data, we developed a band-diagram model that can be used to analyze the impact of extended defects on solar cells and other electronic devices.« less
  7. CdTe defect chemistry is adjusted by annealing samples with excess Cd or Te vapor with and without extrinsic dopants. We observe that Group I (Cu and Na) elements can increase hole density above 10 16 cm -3, but compromise lifetime and stability. By post-deposition incorporation of a Group V dopant (P) in a Cd-rich ambient, lifetimes of 30 ns with 10 16 cm -3 hole density are achieved in single-crystal and polycrystalline CdTe without CdCl 2 or Cu. Furthermore, phosphorus doping appears to be thermally stable. In conclusion, this combination of long lifetime, high carrier concentration, and improved stability canmore » help overcome historic barriers for CdTe solar cell development.« less
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