Copper indium diselenide (CIS) is one of the most promising materials proposed for use in the next generation of solar cells. A successful technique to deposit thin films of this material, which would maximise the advantage offered by its exceptionally high absorption coefficient and radiation resistance, has proved to be elusive. Dissociation of the source material during the physical deposition of these thin films has forced commercial production to adopt a binary (Cu/In) deposition route with a subsequent selenisation stage. This has proved to be a major difficulty; selenisation has introduced its own problems of non-uniformity and toxicity. Laser ablation is especially suited to the deposition of multi-component films in that the initial composition is conserved.
Single crystal and polycrystalline targets of CIS were laser ablated using an XeCl excimer laser. The films were analysed using EDAX, XRD, RBS and Raman spectroscopy. Results from EDAX and RBS measurements indicated that the composition of the source material had largely been maintained in the films. This suggests that laser ablation could prove to be a significant technique in the preparation of complex ternary semiconductor thin films for solar cell applications which would allow the full potential of these materials to be realised in device production.