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Engineering solar cells based on correlative X-ray microscopy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 May 2017

Michael Stuckelberger*
Affiliation:
Defect Lab, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Bradley West
Affiliation:
Defect Lab, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Tara Nietzold
Affiliation:
Defect Lab, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Barry Lai
Affiliation:
Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439, USA
Jörg M. Maser
Affiliation:
Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439, USA
Volker Rose
Affiliation:
Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439, USA; and Center for Nanoscale Materials, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439, USA
Mariana I. Bertoni
Affiliation:
Defect Lab, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
*
a) Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail: michael.stuckelberger@alumni.ethz.ch
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Abstract

In situ and operando measurement techniques combined with nanoscale resolution have proven invaluable in multiple fields of study. We argue that evaluating device performance as well as material behavior by correlative X-ray microscopy with <100 nm resolution can radically change the approach for optimizing absorbers, interfaces and full devices in solar cell research. In this article, we thoroughly discuss the measurement technique of X-ray beam induced current and point out fundamental differences between measurements of wafer-based silicon and thin-film solar cells. Based on reports of the last years, we showcase the potential that X-ray microscopy measurements have in combination with in situ and operando approaches throughout the solar cell lifecycle: from the growth of individual layers to the performance under operating conditions and degradation mechanisms. Enabled by new developments in synchrotron beamlines, the combination of high spatial resolution with high brilliance and a safe working distance allows for the insertion of measurement equipment that can pave the way for a new class of experiments. Applied to photovoltaics research, we highlight today’s opportunities and challenges in the field of nanoscale X-ray microscopy, and give an outlook on future developments.

Type
Review
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2017 

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Footnotes

Contributing Editor: Chris Nicklin

This section of Journal of Materials Research is reserved for papers that are reviews of literature in a given area.

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