Conductive Atomic Free Microscopy of CdTe/CdS Solar Cells

Helio Moutinho

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Conductive atomic force microscopy (C-AFM) is a recently developed technique that applies an electric voltage between a very sharp tip and the sample, permitting the study of the electrical properties of the sample with very high spatial resolution. It also provides current-voltage measurements at well-defined spots. C-AFM is applied simultaneously with atomic force microscopy, providingtopographic and current images of the same region. In this work, we analyze CdTe/CdS samples, before and after CdCl2 treatment, and after bromine/methanol and nitric/phosphoric etches. The as-deposited samples show grains with different contrasts, indicating that the material is not electrically uniform. The CdCl2 treatment resulted in less conductive grain boundaries, suggesting a relativedecrease in the conductivity at these locations. After the bromine/methanol etch, the conductivity at grains boundaries was higher than inside the grains, whereas for the nitric/phosphoric etch the conductivity increased over the entire surface.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2005
Event2004 DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program Review Meeting - Denver, Colorado
Duration: 25 Oct 200428 Oct 2004


Conference2004 DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program Review Meeting
CityDenver, Colorado

Bibliographical note

Presented at the 2004 DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program Review Meeting, 25-28 October 2004, Denver, Colorado. Also included in the proceedings available on CD-ROM (DOE/GO-102005-2067; NREL/CD-520-37140)

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-520-37014


  • Bromine/methanol etch
  • conductive atomic force microscopy (C-AFM)
  • current-voltage
  • electrical properties
  • grain boundary (GBS)
  • nitric/phosphoric etch
  • PV
  • solar cells
  • spatial resolution


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