Interface Reactions in CdTe Solar Cell Processing

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Currently, the best performing CdS/CdTe solar cells use a superstrate structure in which CdTe is deposited on a heated CdS/SnO2/Glass substrate. In the close-spaced-sublimaiton (CSS) process, substrate temperatures in the range 550 deg C to 620 deg C are common. Understanding how these high processing temperatures impact reactions at the CdS/CdTe interface in addition to reactions betweenpreviously deposited layers is critical. At the SnO2/CdS interface we have determined that SnO2 can be susceptible to reduction, particularly in H2 ambients. Room-temperature sputtered SnO2 show the most susceptibility. In contrast, higher growth temperature chemical vapor deposited (CVD) SnO2 appears to be much more stable. Elimination of unstable SnO2 layers, and the substitution of thermaltreatments for H2 anneals has produced total-area solar conversion efficiencies of 13.6% using non-optimized SnO2 substrates and chemical-bath deposited (CBD) CdS. Alloying and interdiffusion at the CdS/CdTe interface was studied using a new lift-off approach which allows enhanced compositional and structural analysis at the interface. Small-grained CdS, grown by a low-temperature CBD process,results in more CdTe1-xSx alloying (x=12-13%) relative to larger-grained CdS grown by high-temperature CSS (x approx. 2-3%). Interdiffusion of S and TE at the interface, measured with lift-off samples, appears to be inversely proportional to the amount of oxygen used during the CSS CdTe deposition. Our highest efficiency to date using CSS-grown CdS is 10.7% and was accomplished by eliminatingoxygen during the CdTe deposition.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages6
    StatePublished - 1998
    EventThin-Film Structures for Photovoltaics: Materials Research Society Symposium - Boston, Massachusetts
    Duration: 2 Dec 19975 Dec 1997


    ConferenceThin-Film Structures for Photovoltaics: Materials Research Society Symposium
    CityBoston, Massachusetts

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/CP-520-23971


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