On Generation and Recombination in Cu(In,Ga)Se2 Thin-Film Solar Cells

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The solar cell technology based on Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) thin-films provides a promising route to cost competitive solar electricity. The standard device structure is ZnO:Al/ZnO/CdS/CIGS/Mo films on a glass substrate, where the first three layers are n-type semiconductors with wide bandgaps, forming a pn-junction with the p-type CIGS absorber layer; the Mo layer serves as a back contact. This thesis deals with analysis of the generation and recombination of electron-hole pairs throughout the device. These processes determine the maximum output power: generation limits the current; recombination limits the voltage.The generation is calculated with an optical model based on complex refractive indices determined for the individual layers. The main features of the optical response of the solar cell can be reproduced with a specular model neglecting scattering. A model including ideally Lambertian scattering at the front and back surface of the CIGS absorber layer is introduced to investigate the possibility to maintain a high current generation with thin absorber layers. The result highlights the relatively poor optical performance of the Mo back contact. TiN and ZrN are explored as alternatives, and improved optical performance is experimentally demonstrated for both materials.The recombination analysis emphasizes that, in general, more than one recombination path of comparable magnitude are operative in parallel. For cells with absorber bandgap increasing from 1.0 eV (CuInSe2) to 1.7 eV (CuGaSe2), a relative increase of interface recombination is found. When these cells are subject to accelerated ageing, degradation is smallest for intermediate bandgaps; an explanation involving different sensitivity to decreased absorber band bending and activation of grain boundaries is suggested. The optical gain with ZrN back contacts is counteracted by increased back contact recombination and contact resistance, but an intermediate layer of MoSe2 is shown to alleviate these problems, allowing for an overall improved efficiency.