Optoelectronic characterization of wide-bandgap (AgCu)(InGa)Se 2 thin-film polycrystalline solar cells including the role of the intrinsic zinc oxide layer

Obahiagbon, Uwadiae
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University of Delaware
Experiments and simulations were conducted to vary the thickness and the sheet resistance of the high resistance (HR) ZnO layer in polycrystalline thin film (AgCu)(GaIn)Se2 (ACIGS) solar cells. The effect of varying these parameters on the electric field distribution, depletion width and hence capacitance were studied by SCAPS simulation. Devices were then fabricated and characterized by a number of optoelectronic techniques. Thin film CIGS has received a lot of attention, for its use as an absorber layer for thin film solar cells. However, the addition of Silver (Ag) to the CIGS alloy system increases the band gap as indicated from optical transmission measurements and thus higher open circuit voltage (V oc ) could be obtained. Furthermore, addition of Ag lowers the melting temperature of the alloy and it is expected that this lowers the defect densities in the absorber and thus leads to higher performance. Transient photocapacitance analysis on ACIGS devices shows sharper band edge indicating lower disorder than CIGS. Presently there is a lack of fundamental knowledge relating film characteristics to device properties and performance. This is due to the fact that some features in the present solar cell structure have been optimized empirically. The goal of this research effort was to develop a fundamental and detailed understanding of the device operation as well as the loss mechanism(s) limiting these devices. Recombination mechanisms in finished ACIGS solar cell devices was studied using advanced admittance techniques (AS, DLCP, CV) to identify electronically active defect state(s) and to study their impact on electronic properties and device performance. Analysis of various optoelectronic measurements of ACIGS solar cells provided useful feedback regarding the impact on device performance of the HR ZnO layer. It was found that thickness between 10-100 nm had negligible impact on performance but reducing the thickness to 0 nm resulted in huge variability in all device parameters. There was a weak improvement in all solar cell parameters with increasing HR layer resistivity by 3 orders of magnitude from 4E-3 to 1E1 Ω-cm. Additionally, optical characterization with ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry (UV-VIS) and variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometry (VASE) of films, quantum efficiency (QE) of devices and modeling was used to perform a detailed optical loss analysis.