Processing of CuInSe2-Based Solar Cells: Characterization of Deposition Processes in Terms of Chemical Reaction Analyses. Final Report, 6 May 1995 - 31 December 1998

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


This project describes a novel rotating-disc reactor has been designed and built to enable modulated flux deposition of CuInSe2 and its related binary compounds. The reactor incorporates both a thermally activated source and a novel plasma-activated source of selenium vapor, which have been used for the growth of epitaxial and polycrystalline thin-film layers of CuInSe2. A comparison of thedifferent selenium reactant sources has shown evidence of increases in its incorporation when using the plasma source, but no measurable change when the thermally activated source was used. We concluded that the chemical reactivity of selenium vapor from the plasma source is significantly greater than that provided by the other sources studied. Epitaxially grown CuInSe2 layers on GaAs, ZnTe, andSrF2 demonstrate the importance of nucleation effects on the morphology and crystallographic structure of the resulting materials. These studies have resulted in the first reported growth of the CuAu type-I crystallographic polytype of CuInSe2, and the first reported epitaxial growth of CuInSe2 on ZnTe. Polycrystalline binary (Cu,Se) and (In,Se) thin films have been grown, and the molar fluxratio of selenium to metals was varied. It is shown that all of the reported binary compounds in each of the corresponding binary phase fields can be synthesized by the modulated flux deposition technique implemented in the reactor by controlling this ratio and the substrate temperature. These results were employed to deposit bilayer thin films of specific (Cu,Se) and (In,Se) compounds with lowmelting-point temperature, which were used to verify the feasibility of synthesizing CuInSe2 by subsequent rapid-thermal processing. The studies of the influence of sodium during the initial stages of epitaxy have led to a new model to explain its influences based on the hypothesis that it behaves as a surfactant in the Cu-In-Se material system. This represents the first unified theory on therole of sodium that explains all of sodium's principal effects on the growth and properties of CuInSe2 that have been reported in the prior scientific literature. Comprehensive statistical mechanical calculations have been combined with published phase diagrams and results of ab-initio quantum mechanical calculations of defect formation enthalpies from the literature to develop the firstfree-energy defect model for CuInSe2 that includes the effects of defect associates (complexes). This model correctly predicts the a/b ternary phase boundary.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages422
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Work performed by University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-520-30391


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