Factors affecting the stability of CdTe/CdS solar cells deduced from stress tests at elevated temperature

Iris Visoly-Fisher, Kevin D. Dobson, Jayakrishnan Nair, Erez Bezalel, Gary Hodes, David Cahen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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CdTe/CdS solar cells were subjected to heat stress at 200 °C in the dark under different environments (in N2 and in air), and under illumination (in N2). We postulate that two independent mechanisms can explain degradation phenomena in these cells: i) Excessive Cu doping of CdS: Accumulation of Cu in the CdS with stress, in the presence of Cl, will increase the photoconductivity of CdS. With limited amounts of Cu in CdS, this does NOT affect the photovoltaic behavior, but explains the crossover of light/dark current-voltage (J-V) curves. Overdoping of CdS with Cu can be detrimental to cell performance by creating deep acceptor states, acting as recombination centers, and compensating donor states. Under illumination, the barrier to Cu cations at the cell junction is reduced, and, therefore, Cu accumulation in the CdS is enhanced. Recovery of light-stress induced degradation in CdTe/CdS cells in the dark is explained by dissociation of the acceptor defects. ii) Back contact barrier: Oxidation of the CdTe back surface in O2/H2O-containing environment to form an insulating oxide results in a back-contact barrier. This barrier is expressed by a rollover in the J-V curve. Humidity is an important factor in air-induced degradation, as it accelerates the oxide formation. Heat treatment in the dark in inert atmosphere can stabilize the cells against certain causes of degradation, by completing the back contact anneal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-299
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


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