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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.
Methods of obtaining large grain size and high crystallinity in absorber materials play an important role in fabrication of high-performance methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) perovskite solar cells. Here we study the effect of adding small concentrations of Cd2+, Zn2+, and Fe2+salts to the perovskite precursor solution used in the single-step solution fabrication process. Enhanced grain size and crystallinity in MAPbI3 films were obtained by using 0.1% of Cd2+ or Zn2+in the precursor solution. Consequently, solar cells constructed with Cd- and Zn-doped perovskite films show a significant improvement in device performance. These results suggest that the process may be an effective and facile method to fabricate high-efficiency perovskite photovoltaic devices.
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.
Photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy has been used to study the defect levels in thin film copper indium diselenide (CuInSe2, CIS) which we are developing as the absorber layer for the bottom cell of a monolithically grown perovskite/CuInSe2 tandem solar cell. Temperature and laser power dependent PL measurements of thin film CIS for two different Cu/In ratios (0.66 and 0.80) have been performed. The CIS film with Cu/In = 0.80 shows a prominent donor-to-acceptor peak (DAP) involving a shallow acceptor of binding energy ∼22 meV, with phonon replica at ∼32 meV spacing. In contrast, PL measurement of CIS film for Cu/In = 0.66 taken at 20 K exhibited an asymmetric and broad PL spectrum with peaks at 0.845 eV and 0.787 eV. Laser intensity dependent PL revealed that the observed peaks 0.845 eV and 0.787 eV shift towards higher energy (aka j-shift) at ∼11.7 meV/decade and ∼ 8 meV/decade with increase in laser intensity respectively. The asymmetric and broad spectrum together with large j-shift suggests that the observed peaks at 0.845 eV and 0.787 eV were related to band-to-tail (BT) and band-to-impurity (BI) transition, respectively. Such a band-tail-related transition originates from the potential fluctuation of defect states at low temperature. The appearance of band related transition in CIS film with Cu/In = 0.66 is the indicator of the presence of large number of charged defect states.
Emissive PbS/CdS core/shell nanosheets are synthesized using a cation-exchange method. A significant blue-shift of the photoluminescence is observed, indicating a stronger quantum confinement in the PbS core as its thickness is reduced to eight atomic layers. High resolution transmission-electron-microscopy images of the cross-sections of the core/shell nanosheets show atomically sharp interfaces between PbS and CdS. Accurate analysis of the thickness of each layer reveals the relationship between the energy-gap and the thickness in the extremely one-dimensionally confined nanostructure.
Here, we investigate the effect of divalent metal (Zn2+, Cd2+ and Hg2+) on the structural and optoelectronic properties of methylammonium lead iodide perovskite materials prepared by the two-step deposition process. The incorporation of Cd2+ significantly improved the grain size, crystallinity, and charge carrier lifetime of CH3NH3PbI3. The inclusion of Hg2+ and Zn2+ improved the grain size compare to the control sample but adversely affected the optoelectronic properties of perovskite films. The Hg- and Zn-based impurities were formed on the surface of the films, which increased the charge trap density and lead to high non-radiative recombination rate. Time resolved photoluminescence measurements indicated that the Cd and Zn point defects do not create deep-level trap states, but the Zn-modified film showed a low lifetime due to morphology changes in the film and particle segregation on the surface.
The carbon dots were investigated to reveal their light-emitting mechanism. The fluorescence spectra of carbon dots show typically two different types of photoluminescence: the excitation-independent component in the short wavelength, and the excitation-dependent component in the longer wavelength. The UV-Vis spectrum of carbon dots shows the absorption maximum of 340 nm which should be accredited to the n-π* transition of the carbonyl group in carbon dots. Absolute quantum yields of carbon dots dispersed in Polyvinyl alcohol is around 15% when the excitation wavelength is less than 425 nm, but decreases continuously when the excitation wavelength increases. The decay lifetimes of the carbon dots also show an abrupt change at excitation wavelength 425 nm. Time resolved photoluminescence was implemented from 31K to 291K to study the photoluminescence decay dynamics of carbon dots, resulting in the continuously decreasing of the lifetime as the temperature increases.
We report photoluminescence, linear absorption and femto-second transient bleaching spectra for a colloidal solution of indium phosphide (InP) quantum dots at ambient temperatures. The photoluminescence quantum yield is shown to depend not only upon the size of the quantum dots, with larger dots exhibiting higher quantum yields, but also upon the excitation wavelength. At short wavelengths, photoluminescence excitation spectra deviate markedly from the absorption spectra indicating that an efficient non-radiative deactivation pathway becomes prominent at these higher photon energies. We interpret this observation in terms of an inefficient relaxation mechanism between the second excited state and the lowest energy excited state from which the emission emanates. The results are consistent with the existence of a phonon bottleneck.
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