Damp-Heat Induced Degradation of Transparent Conducting Oxides for Thin-Film Solar Cells: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The stability of intrinsic and Al-doped single- and bi-layer ZnO for thin-film CuInGaSe2 solar cells, along with Al-doped Zn1-xMgxO alloy and Sn-doped In2O3 (ITO) and F-doped SnO2, was evaluated by direct exposure to damp heat (DH) at 85oC and 85% relative humidity. The results show that the DH-induced degradation rates followed the order of Al-doped ZnO and Zn1-xMgxO >> ITO > F:SnO2. Thedegradation rates of Al:ZnO were slower for films of higher thickness, higher substrate temperature in sputter-deposition, and with dry-out intervals. As inferred from the optical micro-imaging showing the initiation and propagation of degrading patterns and regions, the degradation behavior appears similar for all TCOs, despite the obvious difference in the degradation rate. A degradationmechanism is proposed to explain the temporal process involving thermal hydrolysis.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2008
Event33rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference - San Diego, California
Duration: 11 May 200816 May 2008


Conference33rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
CitySan Diego, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-520-42525


  • CIGS
  • damp-heat induced degradation
  • optical micro-imaging
  • PV
  • sputter deposition
  • thermal hydrolysis
  • thin films
  • transparent conducting oxides (TCO)


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