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Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is one of the leading photovoltaic technologies with a market share of around 5%. However, there still exist challenges to fabricate a rear contact for efficient transport of photogenerated holes. Here, etching effects of various iodine compounds including elemental iodine (I2), ammonium iodide (NH4I), mixture of elemental iodine and NH4I (I−/I3− etching), and formamidinium iodide were investigated. The treated CdTe surfaces were investigated using Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The CdTe devices were completed with or without treatments and tested under simulated AM1.5G solar spectrum to find photoconversion efficiency (PCE). Based on Raman spectra, XRD patterns, and surface morphology, it was shown that treatment with iodine compounds produced Te-rich surface on CdTe films, and temperature-dependent current–voltage characteristics showed reduced back barrier heights, which are essential for the formation of ohmic contact and reduce contact resistance. Based on current–voltage characteristics, the treatment enhanced open-circuit voltage (VOC) up to 841 mV, fill factor (FF) up to 78.2%, and PCE up to 14.0% compared with standard untreated CdTe devices (VOC ∼ 814 mV, FF ∼ 74%, and PCE ∼ 12.7%) with copper/gold back contact.
Here, we report thiol-free thermal-injection synthesis of chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) nanocrystals (NCs) using iron (II) bromide (FeBr2), copper (II) acetaylacetonate (Cu(acac)2), and elemental sulfur (S). Controlled reaction temperature and growth time yield stable and phase-pure ternary CuFeS2 NCs exhibiting tetragonal crystal structure. With increasing growth time from 1 to 30 min, absorption peak slightly red shifts from 465 to 490 nm. Based on spectroscopic ellipsometry analysis, three electronic transitions at 0.652, 1.54, and 2.29 eV were found for CuFeS2 NC film. Also, CuFeS2 NC thin films are incorporated as hole transport layers in cadmium telluride solar cells reaching an efficiency of ~12%.
We present the defect analysis by photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy of CdSexTe1-x thin films, grown with varying Se content by a co-sputtered deposition method. We observe a peak at 1.203 eV in the CdSexTe1-x film for x = 0.21, which shifts towards higher energies with increase in laser power. This peak was assigned to a donor-to-acceptor (DAP) transition, with a measured j-shift of ∼4.7 meV/decade. Temperature dependent PL intensity measurements confirm that the observed DAP peak involves a shallow defect state of binding energy ∼34.7 meV. In contrast, a free-to-bound (FB) peak at 1.294 eV involving a shallow defect of binding energy ∼18.3 meV was observed in the CdSexTe1-x film for x = 0.14. Additionally, we observe band edge emission at 1.452 eV and 1.448 eV in CdSexTe1-x films for x = 0.14 and x = 0.21 respectively. Our analysis shows that the Se concentration not only changes the band gap energy of the resulting CdSexTe1-x alloy thin film, but also modifies the nature of the dominant observed defect emission.
The cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) comprise an efficient and cost-effective technology for harvesting solar energy. However, device efficiency remains limited in part by low-open circuit voltage (VOC) and fill factor (FF) due to inefficient transport of photo-generated charge carriers. Given the deep valence band of CdTe, the use of copper/gold (Cu/Au) as a back contact serves primarily to narrow the width of the inherent Schottky junction evident in CdTe solar cells (in our laboratory, Cu/Au has been used as a standard back contact). For efficient transport of carriers to and into the back contact, a hole transport layer (HTL) is desired with valence band edge comparable to that of CdTe (∼ -5.9 eV). Here, we report solution-processed nanocrystal (NCs) based thin films as HTLs in CdTe solar cells. The earth abundant materials we discuss include iron pyrite (FeS2), nickel-alloyed iron pyrite (NixFe1-xS2), zinc copper sulfide (ZnxCu1-xS) nanocomposites, and perovskite-based films. The FeS2 and NixFe1-xS2 NCs are synthesized by a hot-injection route, and thin films are fabricated by drop-casting, and spin-coating techniques using colloidal NCs. ZnxCu1-xS thin films are fabricated by chemical bath deposition. These NC-based thin films are applied and studied as the HTLs in CdTe devices. On using these materials, the device performance can be increased up to 10% compared to the standard Cu/Au back contact. Here, we discuss the benefits, challenges, and opportunities for these back contact materials in CdTe photovoltaics.
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