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Field-Assisted Simultaneous Synthesis and Transfer (FASST®) process offers a controllable and cost-effective method to produce Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) films for high efficiency photovoltaic devices. In the first stage of the two-stage FASST® process two separate precursor films are formed, one deposited on the substrate and the other on a reusable printing plate. In the second stage, the precursors are brought into intimate contact and rapidly reacted under pressure in the presence of an applied electrostatic field, effectively creating a sealed micro-reactor that ensures high material utilization efficiency, direct control of reaction pressure, and low thermal budget. The unique ability to control both precursor films independently allows for composition and deposition technique optimization, eliminating pre-reaction prior to the synthesis of CIGS. This flexibility has proven immensely valuable as is demonstrated in the results of depositing the two-reactant films by various combinations of low-cost solution-based and conventional vacuum-based physical vapor deposition techniques, producing in several minutes' high quality “hybrid” CIGS with large grains on the order of several microns. Cell efficiencies as high as 12.2% have been achieved using the FASST® method.
In2Se3, Cu2Se, and CuInSe2 thin films have been successfully fabricated using novel metal organic decomposition (MOD) precursors and atmospheric pressure-based deposition and processing. The phase evolution of the binary (In-Se and Cu-Se) and ternary (Cu-In-Se) MOD precursor films was examined during processing to evaluate the nature of the phase and composition changes. The In-Se binary precursor exhibits two specific phase regimes: (i) a cubic-InxSey phase at processing temperatures between 300 and 400 °C and (ii) the γ-In2Se3 phase for films annealed above 450 °C. Both phases exhibit a composition of 40 at.% indium and 60 at.% selenium. The binary Cu-Se precursor films show more diverse phase behavior, and within a narrow temperature processing range a number of Cu-Se phases, including CuSe2, CuSe, and Cu2Se, can be produced and stabilized. The ternary Cu-In-Se precursor can be used to produce relatively dense CuInSe2 films at temperatures between 300 and 500 °C. Layering the binary precursors together has provided an approach to producing CuInSe2 thin films; however, the morphology of the layered binary structure exhibits a significant degree of porosity. An alternative method of layering was explored where the Cu-Se binary was layered on top of an existing indium-gallium-selenide layer and processed. This method produced highly dense and large-grained (>3 µm) CuInSe2 thin films. This has significant potential as a manufacturable route to CIGS-based solar cells.
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