Damp-Heat Instability and Mitigation of ZnO-Based Thin Films for CuInGaSe2 Solar Cells

F. J. Pern, S. H. Glick, R. Sundaramoorthy, B. To, X. Li, C. DeHart, S. Glynn, T. Gennett, R. Noufi, T. Gessert

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

11 Scopus Citations


From our investigation of damp heat (DH)-induced degradation of the main component materials and complete CIGS devices in recent years, this paper summarizes the results on the (1) DH stability of several transparent conducting oxides deposited on glass substrates, including ZnO-based thin films, Sn-doped In2O3 (ITO), and InZnO, and (2) effectiveness of physical and chemical mitigations for ZnO. The electrical results showed that the DH-induced degradation rates of i-ZnO, AZO, their bilayer (BZO), and Al-doped Zn1-xMgxO are significantly greater than those of ITO and InZnO. Thicker AZO films are more stable than thinner ones. Structurally, upon DH exposures, the hexagonal ZnO-based thin films are transformed into highly resistive Zn(OH)2 and/or cubic ZnO with increased transmittance and substantial morphological changes. In the physical mitigation approach, plasma-enhanced chemical vapor-deposited SiOxNy and sputter-deposited InZnO are employed separately as moisture barriers to protect the underlying i-ZnO, AZO, and/or BZO with good results. However, the SiO xNy films required working with chemical treatments to improve adhesion to the BZO surfaces. In the chemical mitigation method, simple wet-solution treatments using special formulations are found effective to protect BZO from DH attack.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2010
Event35th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2010 - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: 20 Jun 201025 Jun 2010


Conference35th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHonolulu, HI

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-520-47725


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