Conductive Atomic Force Microscopy Applied to CdTe/CdS Solar Cells

Helio Moutinho

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In this work we describe for the first time the use of conductive atomic force microscopy (C-AFM) in the study of CdTe/CdS solar cells, before and after the etching processes used in device fabrication. C-AFM is a new technique that provides information on the electrical properties of the sample in conjunction with topographic images with high lateral resolution. At the same time, this techniqueallows for the generation of I-V curves at very well-defined locations. A potential is applied between the sample and a very sharp tip, which scans the sample in contact mode. The current images showed that different CdTe grains produce different contrast. Etching the CdTe with a bromine/methanol solution enhanced the current along grains boundaries when compared to the intragrain material.Etching with a solution of nitric and phosphoric acids did not show this effect. Instead, it increased the current through the whole sample surface.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2004
Event19th European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition - Paris, France
Duration: 7 Jun 200411 Jun 2004


Conference19th European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
CityParis, France

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-520-36323


  • CdTe
  • conductive atomic force microscopy (C-AFM)
  • etching
  • PV


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