Cathodoluminescence Study of Carrier Transport Across Grain Boundaries in CdTe

Harvey Guthrey, John Moseley, Wyatt Metzger, Mowafak Al-Jassim, James Burst

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


It is widely reported that polycrystalline CdTe thin films yield higher conversion efficiency than their single crystal counterparts. However, the mechanism that increases the efficiency is not well understood despite a large body of work on the subject. In particular, understanding how grain boundaries affect carrier transport is crucial to providing future pathways for engineering higher efficiency devices. In this work, we adapted a method for observing carrier transport based on cathodoluminescence that had previously been used to determine diffusion lengths in pc-CdTe films and various III-V alloys to study individual grain boundaries. Utilizing large-grained CdTe (tens of μm grain size) and site-specific specimen preparation, we observed how charge carriers interact with grain boundaries in CdTe. Our results suggest that carrier transport across grain boundaries in CdTe is influenced by the concentration of defect states in the material.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2014
Event40th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2014 - Denver, United States
Duration: 8 Jun 201413 Jun 2014


Conference40th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5K00-61209


  • cathodoluminescence
  • CdTe
  • diffusion length
  • grain boundaries


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