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  1. Abstract

    Bandgap gradient is a proven approach for improving the open-circuit voltages (VOCs) in Cu(In,Ga)Se2and Cu(Zn,Sn)Se2thin-film solar cells, but has not been realized in Cd(Se,Te) thin-film solar cells, a leading thin-film solar cell technology in the photovoltaic market. Here, we demonstrate the realization of a bandgap gradient in Cd(Se,Te) thin-film solar cells by introducing a Cd(O,S,Se,Te) region with the same crystal structure of the absorber near the front junction. The formation of such a region is enabled by incorporating oxygenated CdS and CdSe layers. We show that the introduction of the bandgap gradient reduces the hole density in the front junction region and introduces a small spike in the band alignment between this and the absorber regions, effectively suppressing the nonradiative recombination therein and leading to improved VOCs in Cd(Se,Te) solar cells using commercial SnO2buffers. A champion device achieves an efficiency of 20.03% with a VOCof 0.863 V.

  2. Motivated by their utility in CdTe-based thin film photovoltaics (PV) devices, an investigation of thin films of the magnesium-zinc oxide (MgxZn1−xO or MZO) alloy system was undertaken applying spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE). Dominant wurtzite phase MZO thin films with Mg contents in the range 0 ≤ x ≤ 0.42 were deposited on room temperature soda lime glass (SLG) substrates by magnetron co-sputtering of MgO and ZnO targets followed by annealing. The complex dielectric functions ε of these films were determined and parameterized over the photon energy range from 0.73 to 6.5 eV using an analytical model consisting of two critical point (CP) oscillators. The CP parameters in this model are expressed as polynomial functions of the best fitting lowest CP energy or bandgap E0 = Eg, which in turn is a quadratic function of x. As functions of x, both the lowest energy CP broadening and the Urbach parameter show minima for x ~ 0.3, which corresponds to a bandgap of 3.65 eV. As a result, it is concluded that for this composition and bandgap, the MZO exhibits either a minimum concentration of defects in the bulk of the crystallites or a maximum in the grain size, an observation consistent withmore »measured X-ray diffraction line broadenings. The parametric expression for ε developed here is expected to be useful in future mapping and through-the-glass SE analyses of partial and complete PV device structures incorporating MZO.« less
  3. Tandem photovoltaic (PV) cells with higher efficiency limits than current market dominated crystalline silicon PV devices are poised to be the next generation of solar cells. In this study we focus on analysis of perovskite/Cu(In x Ga 1-x )Se 2 tandem solar cells in the context of real-world conditions. Using material properties and the most recently updated atmospheric data we simulate the device energy yield for locations with different climate conditions. We use the resultant data in calculating module levelized cost and analyze the conditions under which using different forms of tracking become the cost-effective approach at each location.
  4. CuInSe 2 (CIS) thin films ~ 500-650 Å in thickness have been deposited on c-Si substrates by two-stage thermal co-evaporation starting either from In 2 Se 3 [according to In 2 Se 3 + (2Cu+Se) → 2(CuInSe 2 )] or from Cu 2-x Se [according to Cu 2 Se + (2In+3Se) → 2(CuInSe 2 )]. The design of such processes is facilitated by accurate calibrations of Cu and In 2 Se 3 growth rates on substrate/film surfaces obtained by real time spectroscopic ellipsometry (RTSE). The two-stage deposited CIS films were also studied by RTSE to deduce (i) the evolution of film structure upon conversion of the starting In 2 Se 3 or Cu 2-x Se films to CIS via Cu+Se or In+Se co-evaporation, respectively, and (ii) the complex dielectric functions of the starting films as well as the resulting CIS. The goal is to fabricate CIS that develops large grains as early as possible during growth for high quality materials in tandem solar cell applications. Results indicate that by depositing Cu 2-x Se in the first stage and exposing the film to In+Se flux in the second stage [as in the third stage of a three-stage CIS process] well-defined bandgapmore »critical points with no detectable subgap absorption are noted in films as thin as 650 Å.« less