Decoupling Thin Film CdTe Growth from Packaging: Toward Record Specific Power in Low Cost Polycrystalline PV: Preprint

Teresa Barnes, Michael Kempe, Matthew Reese, Colin Wolden, Matthew Dabney

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


There are critical material and scientific barriers to producing high efficiency, flexible, lightweight solar cells that maximize specific power in a cost-effective manner. GaAs solar cells produce the highest specific power of any photovoltaic (PV) technology due to their low weight and extremely high efficiency, but they are also among the most expensive to produce. This work explores a novel lift-off approach with thin-film solar cells, particularly CdTe, to achieve high specific power at low costs. Thin-film devices can be delaminated from their heavy, glass growth substrates post-growth by exploiting a mismatch in coefficient of thermal expansion between the two. This allows thin-film PV to be decoupled from high temperature growth requirements and repackaged using lightweight materials. Currently, the most consistent method of achieving complete delamination of CdTe films is to apply a glass handle at the back contact of the device using epoxy and submerge it in liquid nitrogen. By Tthen re-depositing a transparent front contact but be re-deposited and selectively etcheding to expose the back contact to produce, a functioning lifted-off devices have been produced. Effects of delamination and contributions to device functionality from CdCl2 and CdS layers are discussed. Reproducible delamination of high efficiency, thin-film solar cells over large areas will enable work to further improve device efficiency through passivation and reconstruction of the previously buried interface between the transparent contact and CdS.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2018
Event2017 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PSVC) - Washington, D.C.
Duration: 25 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


Conference2017 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PSVC)
CityWashington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5K00-68786


  • CdS
  • CdTe
  • delamination


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