Evaluation of PbTe and SnTe as Ohmic Contact Layers in CdTe Solar Cell Devices

C. Swartz, E. LeBlanc, Craig Perkins, Deborah McGott, Matthew Reese, A. Nichols, T. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus Citations


For solar cells based on CdTe, the choice of a suitable back contact material is limited by CdTe's deep work function. Here, we explored p-type PbTe and SnTe as ohmic contacts to CdTe. These contact layers were grown on single crystal CdTe substrates by molecular beam epitaxy, and the valence band offset between film and substrate was measured using X-ray photoemission spectroscopy. Polycrystalline device structures were also grown by sublimation to assess performance improvements. Doping was achieved in PbTe by thallium incorporation. Only the highest Tl doped PbTe resulted in a desirable band alignment with the CdTe, forming an electron reflector and no hole barrier. Time-resolved photoluminescence measurements also revealed significant photocarrier lifetime improvements for only the highest doped PbTe. Consequentially, devices incorporating the highest doped PbTe layers showed increased power conversion efficiency, primarily from increased fill factor. Doping of the PbTe was measured via Hall effect with variable magnetic field, which was required due to the formation of an n-type parasitic interface layer. To properly interpret the variable field Hall measurements, we derived an expression for the magnetic field-dependent conductivity tensor of an L-valley semiconductor.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number153656
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-83271


  • Anisotropic Band Valley
  • Cadmium Telluride
  • Lead Telluride
  • Magnetotransport
  • XPS


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of PbTe and SnTe as Ohmic Contact Layers in CdTe Solar Cell Devices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this