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Modeling of Copper Migration In CdTe Photovoltaic Devices

Description

Thin-film modules of all technologies often suffer from performance degradation over time. Some of the performance changes are reversible and some are not, which makes deployment, testing, and energy-yield prediction

Thin-film modules of all technologies often suffer from performance degradation over time. Some of the performance changes are reversible and some are not, which makes deployment, testing, and energy-yield prediction more challenging. The most commonly alleged causes of instability in CdTe device, such as “migration of Cu,” have been investigated rigorously over the past fifteen years. As all defects, intrinsic or extrinsic, interact with the electrical potential and free carriers so that charged defects may drift in the electric field and changing ionization state with excess free carriers. Such complexity of interactions in CdTe makes understanding of temporal changes in device performance even more challenging. The goal of the work in this dissertation is, thus, to eliminate the ambiguity between the observed performance changes under stress and their physical root cause by enabling a depth of modeling that takes account of diffusion and drift at the atomistic level coupled to the electronic subsystem responsible for a PV device’s function. The 1D Unified Solver, developed as part of this effort, enables us to analyze PV devices at a greater depth.

In this dissertation, the implementation of a drift-diffusion model defect migration simulator, development of an implicit reaction scheme for total mass conservation, and a couple of other numerical schemes to improve the overall flexibility and robustness of this coupled Unified Solver is discussed. Preliminary results on Cu (with or without Cl-treatment) annealing simulations in both single-crystal CdTe wafer and poly-crystalline CdTe devices show promising agreement to experimental findings, providing a new perspective in the research of improving doping concentration hence the open-circuit voltage of CdTe technology. Furthermore, on the reliability side, in agreement of previous experimental reports, simulation results suggest possibility of Cu depletion in short-circuited cells stressed at elevated temperature. The developed solver also successfully demonstrated that mobile donor migration can be used to explain solar cell performance changes under different stress conditions.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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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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Date Created
  • 2013