Semi-Insulating Sn-Zr-O: Tunable Resistance Buffer Layers

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Highly resistive and transparent (HRT) buffer layers are critical components of solar cells and other opto-electronic devices. HRT layers are often undoped transparent conducting oxides. However, these oxides can be too conductive to form an optimal HRT. Here, we present a method to produce HRT layers with tunable electrical resistivity, despite the presence of high concentrations of unintentionally or intentionally added dopants in the film. This method relies on alloying wide-bandgap, high-k dielectric materials (e.g., ZrO2) into the host oxide to tune the resistivity. We demonstrate SnxZr1-xO2:F films with tunable resistivities varying from 0.001 to 10 Ω cm, which are controlled by the Zr mole fraction in the films. Increasing Zr suppresses carriers by expanding the bandgap almost entirely by shifting the valence-band position, which allows the HRT layers to maintain good conduction-band alignment for a low-resistance front contact.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 092106
Number of pages4
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-62437


  • buffer layers
  • oxides
  • photovoltaics (PV)
  • thin films


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