Advanced Characterization of Thin Film Solar Cells

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Polycrystalline thin-film solar cells have reached a levelized cost of energy that is competitive with all other sources of electricity. The technology has significantly improved in recent years, with laboratory cell efficiencies for cadmium telluride (CdTe), perovskites, and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) each exceeding 22 percent. Both CdTe and CIGS solar panels are now produced at the gigawatt scale. However, there are ongoing challenges, including the continued need to improve performance and stability while reducing cost. Advancing polycrystalline solar cell technology demands an in-depth understanding of efficiency, scaling, and degradation mechanisms, which requires sophisticated characterization methods. These methods will enable researchers and manufacturers to improve future solar modules and systems. This work provides researchers with a concise overview of the status of thin-film solar cell technology and characterization. Chapters describe material systems and their properties and then provide an in-depth look at relevant characterization methods and the learning facilitated by each of these. Following an introductory chapter, the book provides systematic and thorough coverage of the following topics: trends to improve CdTe solar cell performance; C (In, Ga)Se2 and related materials; perovskite solar cells; photovoltaic device modelling; luminescence and thermal imaging of thin-film photovoltaic materials, devices, and modules; application of spatially resolved spectroscopy characterization techniques on Cu2ZnSnSe4 solar cells; time-resolved photoluminescence characterization of polycrystalline thin-film solar cells; fundamentals of electrical material and device spectroscopies applied to thin-film polycrystalline chalcogenide solar cells; nanometer-scale characterization of thin-film solar cells by atomic force microscopy-based electrical probes; scanning transmission electron microscopy characterization of solar cells; photoelectron spectroscopy methods in solar cell research; time-of-flight secondary-ion mass spectrometry and atom probe tomography; and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance characterization for photovoltaic applications. The final chapter provides an overview and describes future prospects.

Original languageAmerican English
PublisherInstitution of Engineering and Technology
Number of pages458
ISBN (Electronic)9781839530234
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2020.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/BK-5K00-77113


  • copper compounds
  • NMR spectrometers
  • photoelectron spectroscopy
  • photoluminescence
  • scanning-transmission electron microscopy
  • semiconductor thin films
  • solar cells


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