Matching Items (5)

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The design and demonstration of monocrystalline CdTe/MgCdTe double-heterostructure solar cells

Description

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) possesses preferable optical properties for photovoltaic (PV) applications: a near optimum bandgap of 1.5 eV, and a high absorption coefficient of over 15,000 cm-1 at the band

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) possesses preferable optical properties for photovoltaic (PV) applications: a near optimum bandgap of 1.5 eV, and a high absorption coefficient of over 15,000 cm-1 at the band edge. The detailed-balance limiting efficiency is 32.1% with an open-circuit voltage (Voc) of 1.23 V under the AM1.5G spectrum. The record polycrystalline CdTe thin-film cell efficiency has reached 22.1%, with excellent short-circuit current densities (Jsc) and fill-factors (FF). However, the Voc (~900 mV) is still far below the theoretical value, due to the large non-radiative recombination in the polycrystalline CdTe absorber, and the low-level p-type doping.

Monocrystalline CdTe/MgCdTe double-heterostructures (DHs) grown on lattice-matched InSb substrates have demonstrated impressively long carrier lifetimes in both unintentionally doped and Indium-doped n-type CdTe samples. The non-radiative recombination inside of, and at the interfaces of the CdTe absorbers in CdTe/MgCdTe DH samples has been significantly reduced due to the use of lattice-matched InSb substrates, and the excellent passivation provided by the MgCdTe barrier layers. The external luminescent quantum efficiency (η_ext) of n-type CdTe/MgCdTe DHs is up to 3.1%, observed from a 1-µm-thick CdTe/MgCdTe DH doped at 1017 cm-3. The 3.1% η_ext corresponds to an internal luminescent quantum efficiency (η_int) of 91%. Such a high η_ext gives an implied Voc, or quasi-Fermi-level splitting, of 1.13 V.

To obtain actual Voc, the quasi-Fermi-level splitting should be extracted to outside the circuit using a hole-selective contact layer. However, CdTe is difficult to be doped p-type, making it challenging to make efficient PN junction CdTe solar cells. With the use of MgCdTe barrier layers, the hole-contact layer can be defective without affecting the voltage. P-type hydrogenated amorphous silicon is an effective hole-selective contact for CdTe solar cells, enabling monocrystalline CdTe/MgCdTe DH solar cells to achieve Voc over 1.1 V, and a maximum active area efficiency of 18.8% (Jsc = 23.3 mA/cm2, Voc = 1.114 V, and FF = 72.3%). The knowledge gained through making the record-efficiency monocrystalline CdTe cell, particularly the n-type doping and the double-heterostructure design, may be transferable to polycrystalline CdTe thin-film cells and improve their competitiveness in the PV industry.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Optimization of monocrystalline MgxCd1-xTe/MgyCd1-yTe double-heterostructure solar cells

Description

Polycrystalline CdS/CdTe solar cells continue to dominate the thin-film photovoltaics industry with an achieved record efficiency of over 22% demonstrated by First Solar, yet monocrystalline CdTe devices have received considerably

Polycrystalline CdS/CdTe solar cells continue to dominate the thin-film photovoltaics industry with an achieved record efficiency of over 22% demonstrated by First Solar, yet monocrystalline CdTe devices have received considerably less attention over the years. Monocrystalline CdTe double-heterostructure solar cells show great promise with respect to addressing the problem of low Voc with the passing of the 1 V benchmark. Rapid progress has been made in driving the efficiency in these devices ever closer to the record presently held by polycrystalline thin-films. This achievement is primarily due to the utilization of a remote p-n heterojunction in which the heavily doped contact materials, which are so problematic in terms of increasing non-radiative recombination inside the absorber, are moved outside of the CdTe double heterostructure with two MgyCd1-yTe barrier layers to provide confinement and passivation at the CdTe surfaces. Using this design, the pursuit and demonstration of efficiencies beyond 20% in CdTe solar cells is reported through the study and optimization of the structure barriers, contacts layers, and optical design. Further development of a wider bandgap MgxCd1-xTe solar cell based on the same design is included with the intention of applying this knowledge to the development of a tandem solar cell constructed on a silicon subcell. The exploration of different hole-contact materials—ZnTe, CuZnS, and a-Si:H—and their optimization is presented throughout the work. Devices utilizing a-Si:H hole contacts exhibit open-circuit voltages of up to 1.11 V, a maximum total-area efficiency of 18.5% measured under AM1.5G, and an active-area efficiency of 20.3% for CdTe absorber based devices. The achievement of voltages beyond 1.1V while still maintaining relatively high fill factors with no rollover, either before or after open-circuit, is a promising indicator that this approach can result in devices surpassing the 22% record set by polycrystalline designs. MgxCd1-xTe absorber based devices have been demonstrated with open-circuit voltages of up to 1.176 V and a maximum active-area efficiency of 11.2%. A discussion of the various loss mechanisms present within these devices, both optical and electrical, concludes with the presentation of a series of potential design changes meant to address these issues.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Molecular beam epitaxial growth of monocrystalline MgxCd1-xTe/MgyCd1-yTe (x<y) double heterostructures and solar cells

Description

This dissertation details a study of wide-bandgap molecular beam epitaxy (MBE)-grown single-crystal MgxCd1-xTe. The motivation for this study is to open a pathway to reduced $/W solar power generation through

This dissertation details a study of wide-bandgap molecular beam epitaxy (MBE)-grown single-crystal MgxCd1-xTe. The motivation for this study is to open a pathway to reduced $/W solar power generation through the development of a high-efficiency 1.7-eV II-VI top cell current-matched to low-cost 1.1-eV silicon. This paper reports the demonstration of monocrystalline 1.7-eV MgxCd1-xTe/MgyCd1-yTe (y>x) double heterostructures (DHs) with a record carrier lifetime of 560 nanoseconds, along with a 1.7-eV MgxCd1-xTe/MgyCd1-yTe (y>x) single-junction solar cell with a record active-area efficiency of 15.2% and a record open-circuit voltage (VOC) of 1.176 V. A study of indium-doped n-type 1.7-eV MgxCd1-xTe with a carrier activation of up to 5 × 1017 cm-3 is presented with promise to increase device VOC. Finally, this paper reports an epitaxial lift-off (ELO) technology using water-soluble MgTe for the creation of free-standing MBE-grown II-VI single-crystal CdTe and 1.7-eV MgxCd1-xTe solar cells freed from lattice-matched InSb(001) substrates. Photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy measurements comparing intact and free-standing films reveal the survival of optical quality in CdTe DHs after ELO. This technology opens up several possibilities to drastically increase cell conversion efficiency through improved light management and transferability into monolithic multijunction devices. Lastly, this report will present considerations for future work in each of the study areas mentioned above.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Amorphous Silicon Contacts for Silicon and Cadmium Telluride Solar Cells

Description

Achieving high efficiency in solar cells requires optimal photovoltaics materials for light absorption and as with any electrical device—high-quality contacts. Essentially, the contacts separate the charge carriers—holes at one terminal

Achieving high efficiency in solar cells requires optimal photovoltaics materials for light absorption and as with any electrical device—high-quality contacts. Essentially, the contacts separate the charge carriers—holes at one terminal and electrons at the other—extracting them to an external circuit. For this purpose, the development of passivating and carrier-selective contacts that enable low interface defect density and efficient carrier transport is critical for making high-efficiency solar cells. The recent record-efficiency n-type silicon cells with hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) contacts have demonstrated the usefulness of passivating and carrier-selective contacts. However, the use of a-Si:H contacts should not be limited in just n-type silicon cells.

In the present work, a-Si:H contacts for crystalline silicon and cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells are developed. First, hydrogen-plasma-processsed a-Si:H contacts are used in n-type Czochralski silicon cell fabrication. Hydrogen plasma treatment is used to increase the Si-H bond density of a-Si:H films and decrease the dangling bond density at the interface, which leads to better interface passivation and device performance, and wider temperature-processing window of n-type silicon cells under full spectrum (300–1200 nm) illumination. In addition, thickness-varied a-Si:H contacts are studied for n-type silicon cells under the infrared spectrum (700–1200 nm) illumination, which are prepared for silicon-based tandem applications.

Second, the a-Si:H contacts are applied to commercial-grade p-type silicon cells, which have much lower bulk carrier lifetimes than the n-type silicon cells. The approach is using gettering and bulk hydrogenation to improve the p-type silicon bulk quality, and then applying a-Si:H contacts to enable excellent surface passivation and carrier transport. This leads to an open-circuit voltage of 707 mV in p-type Czochralski silicon cells, and of 702 mV, the world-record open-circuit voltage in p-type multi-crystalline silicon cells.

Finally, CdTe cells with p-type a-Si:H hole-selective contacts are studied. As a proof of concept, p-type a-Si:H contacts enable achieving the highest reported open-circuit voltages (1.1 V) in mono-crystalline CdTe devices. A comparative study of applying p-type a-Si:H contacts in poly-crystalline CdTe solar cells is performed, resulting in absolute voltage gain of 53 mV over using the standard tellurium contacts.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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One-dimensional fast transient simulator for modeling CdS/CdTe solar cells

Description

Solar energy, including solar heating, solar architecture, solar thermal electricity and solar photovoltaics, is one of the primary energy sources replacing fossil fuels. Being one of the most important techniques,

Solar energy, including solar heating, solar architecture, solar thermal electricity and solar photovoltaics, is one of the primary energy sources replacing fossil fuels. Being one of the most important techniques, significant research has been conducted in solar cell efficiency improvement. Simulation of various structures and materials of solar cells provides a deeper understanding of device operation and ways to improve their efficiency. Over the last two decades, polycrystalline thin-film Cadmium-Sulfide and Cadmium-Telluride (CdS/CdTe) solar cells fabricated on glass substrates have been considered as one of the most promising candidate in the photovoltaic technologies, for their similar efficiency and low costs when compared to traditional silicon-based solar cells. In this work a fast one dimensional time-dependent/steady-state drift-diffusion simulator, accelerated by adaptive non-uniform mesh and automatic time-step control, for modeling solar cells has been developed and has been used to simulate a CdS/CdTe solar cell. These models are used to reproduce transients of carrier transport in response to step-function signals of different bias and varied light intensity. The time-step control models are also used to help convergence in steady-state simulations where constrained material constants, such as carrier lifetimes in the order of nanosecond and carrier mobility in the order of 100 cm2/Vs, must be applied.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013