Characterization of the (Ag,Cu)(In,Ga)Se2 thin film alloy system for solar cells

Boyle, Jonathan
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University of Delaware
Energy is the underlying factor to human economic activity, and more energy is projected to be needed in the near future and photovoltaics provide a means to supply that energy. Results presented in this dissertation detail material properties of the (Ag,Cu)(In,Ga)Se 2 thin film alloy system for use as a solar cell material. Structural and optical properties were determined via X-ray diffraction and UV/Vis/NIR spectrophotometry, respectively. Structural data was analyzed using JADE 2010 software and optical data was analyzed via two different methods. Results of Ag substitution into Cu(In,Ga)Se 2 alloy were reconciled with the Jaffe-Wei-Zunger (JWZ) theoretical model, which relates structural and chemical properties of Cu-based ternary chalcopyrite alloys to their optical properties. Dominant phase of the alloy system was identified as chalcopyrite I-42d, Space group 122, with minor secondary phases and order defect phases. No chalcopyrite-chalcopyrite miscibility gap was present in the alloy compositional space, counter to prior literature on bulk polycrystalline materials and thermodynamic calculations performed here, indicating that Ag was successfully substituted into the chalcopyrite lattice. Lattice constant results were consistent with JWZ model, where a O lattice constant closely follows Vegard's rule, cO lattice constant changes at different rates than aO does with composition, and anion displacement is affected by cation radii. Optical results showed bandgap widening with Ag and Ga substitution across the full compositional space, with bowing parameters shown overall to be invariant with cation substitution, counter to expectations. (Ag+Cu)/(In+Ga) ratio effect on bandgap for a limited set of samples is consistent with p-d hybridization effects from JWZ model.