Identification of Recombination Losses in CdSe/CdTe Solar Cells from Spectroscopic and Microscopic Time‐Resolved Photoluminescence

Darius Kuciauskas, John Moseley, Chungho Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus Citations


Due to the lowest-cost and best reliability, CdTe solar cells are the leading thin-film photovoltaic technology. Increasing open-circuit voltage by reducing recombination represents the most promising path toward further improvements. Analysis is needed to identify limitations that cause efficiency losses. To achieve this goal for Cu-doped CdSe/CdTe solar cells, time-resolved spectroscopy and microscopy are developed and applied. Recombination lifetimes and radiative efficiency identify that defect-mediated recombination is the dominant voltage loss mechanism. When carrier lifetimes are averaged over many crystalline grains, they increase from 180 to 430 ns when Al2O3 is applied to the back contact. The quasi-Fermi-level splitting correspondingly increases from 880–905 to 906–931 mV, indicating a pathway to overcome the long-standing 900 mV voltage limitation. However, the dominant recombination losses are attributed to the absorber bulk. From microscopic carrier lifetime measurements, it is identified that space charge fields due to charged grain boundaries (GBs) lead to recombination in the CdTe absorber bulk. At high injection, GB space charge fields are screened, but that occurs above 1 Sun excitation conditions. Alloying with selenium in the near-interface CdSeTe absorber region reduces GB losses and is identified as one of the factors leading to high radiative and power conversion efficiency.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2000775
Number of pages13
JournalSolar RRL
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-78387


  • CdTe
  • characterizations
  • photoluminescence
  • solar cells
  • thin films


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of Recombination Losses in CdSe/CdTe Solar Cells from Spectroscopic and Microscopic Time‐Resolved Photoluminescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this