Carrier Providers or Killers: The Case of Cu Defects in CdTe: Article No. 042106

Wyatt Metzger, Ji-Hui Yang, Su-Huai Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus Citations


Defects play important roles in semiconductors for optoelectronic applications. Common intuition is that defects with shallow levels act as carrier providers and defects with deep levels are carrier killers. Here, taking the Cu defects in CdTe as an example, we show that relatively shallow defects can play both roles. Using first-principles calculation methods combined with thermodynamic simulations, we study the dialectic effects of Cu-related defects on hole density and lifetime in bulk CdTe. Because CuCd can form a relatively shallow acceptor, we find that increased Cu incorporation into CdTe indeed can help achieve high hole density; however, too much Cu can cause significant non-radiative recombination. We discuss strategies to balance the contradictory effects of Cu defects based on the calculated impact of Cd chemical potential, copper defect concentrations, and annealing temperature on lifetime and hole density. These findings advance the understanding of the potential complex defect behaviors of relatively shallow defect states in semiconductors.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-69052


  • charge carriers
  • chemical potential
  • hole density
  • metalloids
  • semiconductors


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