Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Chris Ferekides, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Don L. Morel, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arash Takshi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Norma Alcantar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Scott Lewis, Ph.D.

Keywords

Elemental Vapor Transport, Intrinsic Doping, Open Circuit Voltage, Photovoltaics

Abstract

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) is a leading thin film photovoltaic (PV) material due to its near ideal bandgap of 1.45 eV and its high optical absorption coefficient. Advancements in efficiencies of CdTe/CdS solar cells over the past few decades have come from improving the short circuit current (JSC) and Fill Factor (FF) but the Open Circuit Voltage (VOC) has been stagnant. Further improvements in efficiencies should come from increased VOC’s. VOC’s can be improved by increasing the acceptor concentration and minority carrier lifetime. Both these parameters can be controlled by manipulating the native defect concentration in CdTe which can be achieved by varying CdTe stoichiometry.

In this study, a deposition system called Elemental Vapor Transport was used to vary the CdTe stoichiometry with an intent to change the native defect concentration and therefore pave way to increase acceptor concentration and lifetimes. Elemental cadmium and tellurium were heated in dedicated zones and their vapors were transported to the substrate using a carrier gas. By varying the temperatures and flowrates of the carrier gas through the zones, the gas phase Cd/Te ratio was varied to deposit Cd-rich, Te-rich and stoichiometric films.

Structural properties were investigated using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), and Transmission Electron Microscopy (EDS). Electrical characterization of completed devices was carried out by Current-Voltage (J-V), Capacitance-Voltage (C-V), and Spectral Response (SR) and Deep Level Transient Spectroscopy (DLTS) measurements.

Cd-rich films showed smaller grain sizes and lesser degree of preferential orientation. Te-rich films showed increased acceptor concentration and carrier lifetimes and solar cells fabricated using these films showed higher VOC’s compared to Cd-rich and stoichiometric films .Higher degree of CdTe-CdS mixing was observed at the interface for films deposited at increased substrate temperatures.

Available for download on Friday, April 13, 2018

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