Nanocrystal Grain Growth and Device Architectures for High-Efficiency CdTe Ink-Based Photovoltaics

Ryan W. Crisp, Matthew G. Panthani, William L. Rance, Joel N. Duenow, Philip A. Parilla, Rebecca Callahan, Matthew S. Dabney, Joseph J. Berry, Dmitri V. Talapin, Joseph M. Luther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus Citations


We study the use of cadmium telluride (CdTe) nanocrystal colloids as a solution-processable "ink" for large-grain CdTe absorber layers in solar cells. The resulting grain structure and solar cell performance depend on the initial nanocrystal size, shape, and crystal structure. We find that inks of predominantly wurtzite tetrapod-shaped nanocrystals with arms ∼5.6 nm in diameter exhibit better device performance compared to inks composed of smaller tetrapods, irregular faceted nanocrystals, or spherical zincblende nanocrystals despite the fact that the final sintered film has a zincblende crystal structure. Five different working device architectures were investigated. The indium tin oxide (ITO)/CdTe/zinc oxide structure leads to our best performing device architecture (with efficiency >11%) compared to others including two structures with a cadmium sulfide (CdS) n-type layer typically used in high efficiency sublimation-grown CdTe solar cells. Moreover, devices without CdS have improved response at short wavelengths.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9063-9072
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number9
StatePublished - 23 Sep 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-61968


  • CdTe
  • device architecture
  • grain growth
  • nanocrystal
  • photovoltaic
  • sintering
  • solution-processed


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