Atomic Scale Characterization of Compound Semiconductors Using Atom Probe Tomography

Brian P. Gorman, Andrew G. Norman, Dan Lawrence, Ty Prosa, Harvey Guthrey, Mowafak Al-Jassim

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


Internal interfaces are critical in determining the performance of III-V multijunction solar cells. Studying these interfaces with atomic resolution using a combination of transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atom probe tomography (APT), and density functional calculations enables a more fundamental understanding of carrier dynamics in photovoltaic (PV) device structures. To achieve full atomic scale spatial and chemical resolution, data acquisition parameters in laser pulsed APT must be carefully studied to eliminate surface diffusion. Atom probe data with minimized group V ion clustering and expected stoichiometry can be achieved by adjusting laser pulse power, pulse repetition rate, and specimen preparation parameters such that heat flow away from the evaporating surface is maximized. Applying these improved analysis conditions to III-V based PV gives an atomic scale understanding of compositional and dopant profiles across interfaces and tunnel junctions and the initial stages of alloy clustering and dopant accumulation. Details on APT experimental methods and future in-situ instrumentation developments are illustrated.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages3
StatePublished - 2011
Event37th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2011 - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: 19 Jun 201124 Jun 2011


Conference37th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5200-50730 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5200-55712


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