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DEVELOPMENT AND FABRICATION OF HIGH EFFICIENCY ULTRA-THIN FLEXIBLE CDTE FILM SOLAR CELLS ON METALLIC AND POLYMER FOILS

Mohammed Mannir Aliyu P52366


A PhD Proposal
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Nowshad Amin

JKEES Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia


October, 2010

Outline
y y y y y y y y y y y y y y

Introduction/Background Features of CdTe Solar Cells Research Issues in CdTe Solar Cells Summary of Literature Review Problem Statement Research Philosophy Challenges of Flexible substrates Significance of Study Research Objectives Research Methodology Expected Outcomes Gantt Chart Selected References Some Recorded progresses

Background
World Population increases Economic growth Global energy demand rises steadily Spiraling energy cost Environmental hazards

Background contd.
There is needs for clean, cheap and environ-friendly energy
PV suffers from low efficiency and high cost Thin film PV cells are attractive, due to ease of mass production, low material usage, thus cheaper units CdTe is considered one of the most favored thin film solar cells for the future CdTe PV cells suffer from poor back contact structure, due to high potential barrier height

The search for alternative energy source favors PV sources

Some applications of solar cells

Thin Film Solar Cells


Thin film solar cells have shown great potentials as future PV source of clean energy due to:  Simpler/cheaper manufacturing process/cost  Shorter cost/energy payback time  Better performance in low intensity/diffused lights  Higher resistance to radiation bombardment  Easier adaptability to flexible structures  Lower material and energy inputs requirements

Shortcomings:
Lower efficiency Shorter lifetime stability

To compete with conventional sources: thin film solar cells should be 25%

Current Eff. CIGS: 20.3% CdTe:16.5% a-Si: 10%


Roll-toRoll-to-roll manufacturing

Introduction
CdTe has been identified as a potential semiconductor material for thin film solar cells of the future due to its attractive features: y Its band gap of 1.5eV is ideal for optimal solar radiation absorption y Direct bandgap which makes it an excellent optical absorber y Its chemical stability, low thermal coefficient of parameters, simplicity and variety of deposition methodologies all combine to make CdTe an ideal material for thin film solar cells y There are multiple and cheap deposition processes y Also, some of these processes are adaptable to mass industrial production y High stability against particle radiation y High specific power y Lower temp coeff. efficiency at increased temperature y Better efficiency even under poor weather conditions (cloudy, dawn, dusk, dusty, snowy

Current status of CdTe solar cells


y Currently, CdTe solar cells are deposited on glass

substrates, using the superstrate structure y But glass-based solar cells are associated with several setbacks which include -heavy weight (where glass forms 98% of cell weight) - easy breakage, - non flexible, -difficult and expensive production process, - poor thermal conductivity and expansitivity, - poor mechanical flexibility and - low specific power

y Most CdTe based solar cells use a 5-10m CdTe

absorber, 0.10-1.00m CdS window layer y However, it has been established that a CdTe layer thickness of 1-2m is enough to absorb 90% of incident light, while a CdS layer 0.050-0.100m thick is adequate to produce an acceptable efficiency y A champion cell of 16.5% efficiency

Ultra-Thin CdTe on Glass


y Recently, research efforts have attempted to develop

low cost, efficient CdTe cells using ultra-thin layers y CdTe absober thickness of 0.5-1.5m have been developed on glass with reasonable performances y CSS and magnetron sputtering have been reported for these ultra thin layers y Efficiencies of 11.5% was reported at CdTe thickness of 1m and less using CSS y While 9.6% efficiency has been obtained using sputtering y Thus, ultra-thin CdTe photovoltaic solar cells are viable

Flexible Solar Cells Applications


y Light, low powered electronics, health monitoring, emergency and surveillance devices. y Smart and cloth-integrated solar cells, and plastic electronic devices y Building integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)

Different faces of Flexible Solar Cells

Comparison of Irradiation-Induced Damage of different PV cells (DDD)

Ultra-Thin CdTe on Flexible Substrates


y It is therefore proposed in this research work that an

ultra-thin CdTe solar cells on flexible substrates will lead to a more efficient, cheaper and simpler processes solar cells y Such cells would have important and useful applications in space applications, mobile power supply systems and Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV). y It will also ease deployment, reduce the risk of breakage, requires simpler support system.

Some Research Issues in CdTe Solar Cells


y New TCO layers y New materials and structures for better performance y Improvement of the back contact to minimize recombination y Thinner CdS plus CdS:O appear to improve cell performance y Maximize absorption in the CdTe layer thru texturing, BSR y Annealing (CdCl2) treatment optimization y Reduce fabrication cost y Reduce material use (thinner CdTe absorber layer) y Optimize Low temperature deposition techniques y Use flexible substrates y Identify simple fabrication process for mass-production

Summary of Literature Review


Main goals of CdTe Research effort is to improve the following solar cell indices: y Performance y Cost y Environmental friendliness These are to be achieved through optimal utilization of the following: y Materials y Processes y Structures

Performance Tree
Performance

Efficiency Voc
Reduce pin holes

Stability FF Materials
Reduce resistivity New materials

Jsc
optical transmission Optical absorption

Reduce resistivity

Min. recombination Fewer defects

Stoichiometry

Optimize treatment

Good junction Xtics

Dopants

Processes
Processes

Deposition (CVD, PVD etc)

Structure (layer deposition, thickness, substrate, superstrate etc)

Treatments (annealing, passivation etc)

Materials
Materials

Layer (structure, thickness,

TCO Back contact Thickness, Dopants Schottky, ohmic

Type of substrate

Buffer, Bilayer

Glass Interlayer material Metals Alloys Flexible

dopants Polymer

Some Recent Publication in CdTe Solar Cells

Problem statement
Conventional CdTe/CdS thin film solar cells deposited on glass substrates suffer from: y Excessive weight, thus overall higher costs y Fragility, rigidity, thus difficulty and high cost of deployment y Poor thermal conductivity of glass thus problems during annealing of large area panel y Thermal stress which causes breakage during fabrication y Higher material input due to thicker layers CdTe(5-10m) y Higher optical absorption in the CdS window layer y Reduced Jsc,Voc and high Rs y Poor ohmic back contact y Higher production cost.

Research Philosophy
An Ultra-Thin CdTe Solar Cell on Flexible Substrates will Reduce Material input, weight, cost, processing complexities and ease deployment, giving a versatile, efficient, portable and cheap source of energy

Significance of the study


Use of flexible substrates (polymers and metals) in place of glass shall lead to: y Light weight devices y Adaptability to different shapes y Ease and low cost of deployment y Easily integrated into different systems Beneficiaries: y Space systems, buildings, portable power sources, solar cars, solar boats, consumer electronics, smart cards, mobile devices

Challenges of flexible metallic substrates


y Most metals do not form an efficient ohmic contact with CdTe, thus

it is difficult to insert a buffer interlayer onto metallic substrates y The requirements for matching the work functions and thermal coefficients of the contacting materials allow selection of only a few substrate materials. y Molybdenum is favored as substrate material due to its matching thermal expansion coefficient, but its low work function necessitates the use of an interlayer y CdCl2 annealing treatment at high temperature changes the ohmic contact properties

Challenges of flexible Polymer substrates


y Polymer substrates have a maximum temperature

around 400-450oC for some commercial polymers. This limits the processes carried on the structure y Polymers have limited optical transmission, reducing the Jsc of the cell

Research Objectives
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Design and Development of ultra thin CdTe solar cell structures Simulations of the designed cells and optimization Development of a suitable Ohmic back contact structure Fabrication and optimization of complete CdTe solar cells on both polyimide and Molybdenum substrates by RF Sputtering, CSS methods Characterization of the fabricated cells and various layers using AFM, XRD, SEM, I-V, Hall effect and Electrical parameters of cells (I-V, Jsc, Voc, FF, ) Evaluation of the complete solar cells under extreme conditions of temperature and light intensity

Methodology
y Design and simulation utilizing AMPS-1D software for costeffective, high efficiency, ultra-thin CdTe solar cell. y Investigation of a low cost and highly effective fabrication process for CdTe absorber layer on metallic using Close-SpacedSublimation method. y Investigation of low temperature and low cost sputtering growth for CdTe/CdS layers on polyimide substrate y Test and measurements of the growth process of CdTe absorber layer and other layers y Optimization of fabrication process steps specially CdCl2 treatment. y In house complete fabrication of CdTe solar cells. y Evaluation of the fabricated cells in standard condition and characterization. y Measurement of the effect of operating temperature and reliability of the cell on efficiency

xpected Outcomes
y A new back contact for a more efficient, stable cell y A thinner CdTe/CdS cell structure for better material use y A flexible solar cell on metallic substrate y A flexible solar cell on polymer substrate y A complete CdTe solar cell with stable, enhanced performance and lower cost y Publications in Revered Journals and Conferences y PhD Thesis

The Gantt Chart

The Gantt chart

Some Progress Recorded


Design of An Ultra-Thin CdTe Solar Cell Structure y Both superstrate and substrate structures designed y CdTe, CdS layers reduced y ZnTe, Sb2Te3, As2Te3 proposed as BSF layers

The Possibility of Higher Efficiency and Stable CdS/CdTe Cell


y Structures with ITO and Cd2SnO4 as front

contact material, (SnO2), (ZnO) and zinc stannate (Zn2SnO4) as buffer layer, y Silver (Ag) or antimony telluride (Sb2Te3) with (Mo) or (ZnTe) with (Al) as back contact material. y The cell structureITO/i-ZnO/CdS/CdSxTe1-x/CdTe/Ag has shown the best conversion efficiency of 16.9% (Voc: 0.9V, Jsc:26.35mA/cm2 ,FF: 0.783).

A new Graded Bandgap Ternary CdZnTe Solar Structure developed


CdZnTe as absorber, and varying bandgap of 1.45-1.8eV Max absorber thickness of 1.65 m, sliced in 8 layers, After optimization of the absorber layers, four best cells with efficiency over 20% Maximum values for Jsc of 24.904mA/cm2, Voc of 0.96V and FF of 0.86 were obtained. Relatively small temperature coefficient of 0.038%/oC

An Ultra Thin Absorber Layer with Novel Back Contact for High Efficiency CdS/CdTe Solar Cells
y The possibility of ultra thin absorber layer of CdS/CdTe cells was y y y y

investigated The CdTe absorber layer was found that 1 m is just enough for acceptable range of cell efficiencies. This ultra thin CdTe absorber layer was examined, together with As2Te3 back surface field (BSF) layer to reduce the barrier height and recombination losses Conversion efficiency of 16.65% without BSF and 18.6% (Voc = 0.92 V, Jsc = 24.97 mA/cm2 and FF = 0.81) 18.6% with As2Te3 BSF. The cells normalized efficiency linearly decreased with the increasing operating temperature at the gradient of -0.4%/C, which indicated better stability of the cells.

Conclusion
y The CdTe is a viable and strong candidate for the source of y y y y

cheap, clean energy for the future Its current efficiency, cost and performance need to be improved By using flexible substrates, numerous advantages may accrue Thinner CdTe/CdS layers with reasonable performance possible A stable back contact is necessary for better performance

Selected References
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Tiwari, A.N., Khrypunov, G., Kurdzesau, F., Batzner, D.L., Romeo, A. And Zogg, H.(2004) CdTe Solar Cell in a Novel Con guration PROGRESS IN PHOTOVOLTAICS: RESEARCH AND APPLICATIONS, 2004; 12:33 38. Mathew, X. Enriquez, J.P., Segura, G. Sanchez-Juarez' (2005) DEVELOPMENT OF A SUBSTRATE CONFIGURATION CdTe/lCdS SOLAR CELL ON FLEXIBLE MOLYBDENUM SUBSTRATE, IEEE Conference. Romeo, A. et al. (2006) High-Efficiency Flexible CdTe solar cells on Polymer Substrates Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells 90, 3407 3415 Khrypunova et al (2006)Recent developments in Evaporated CdTe Solar Cells. Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells 90, 664 677 Pantoja, et al (2004) CdTe/CdS Solar Cells on Flexible Molybdenum Substrates Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells. 82, 307 314 Vijay, et al (2004) Design Issues in the Fabrication of Cds CdTe Solar Cells on Molybdenum Foil Substrates SolarEnergyMaterials&SolarCells76(2003)369 385 Tiwari, et al, (2001) Flexible CdTe Solar Cells on Polymer Films. PROGRESS IN PHOTOVOLTAICS: RESEARCH AND APPLICATIONS, 9:211-215 German, et al In uence of the Au Interlayer on the Contact Resistance and Morphology of CdTe Films Deposited on Molybdenum Substrate. Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells 90:2289 2296 Hern, G. et al (2004) Structural Characterization of CdTe Thin Films Developed on Metallic Substrates by Close Spaced Sublimation JOURNAL OF MATERIALS SCIENCE 39, 1515 1518 Wu, X. (2004) High Efficiency Polycrystalline CdTe thin film Solar Cells, Solar Energy 77 803-814.

References contd.
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Xavier, et al (2003) Development of CdTe thin films on Flexible Substrates- A Review, Solar Energy materials & Solar Cells 76 293-303. Mathew, et al, (2004) CdTe/CdS Solar Cells on Flexible Substrates, Solar Energy 77 831-838 Singh, et al (2003)Design Issues in the Fabrication of CdS- CdTe Solar Cells on Molybdenum Foil Substrates, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 76 369385 Chandramoham, et al (2006) Structural Properties of CdTe thin Films on Different Substrates, solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 90 686-693. Dharmadasa, I.M. (2009) Latest Developments in CdTe, CuInGaSe2 an GaAs/AlGaAs Thin film PV Solar Cells. Current Applied Physics, 9 e2-e6. Gosh, B. (2009) electrical Contacts for II-VI Semiconductor Devices, Microelectronic Engineering, XXX Hadrich, et al (2009) Pathways to Thin Absorbers in CdTe Solar Cells, Thin Solid Films 517 2282-2285. Ghos, B. (2008) Work Function Engineering and its Applications in Ohmic Contact Fabrication to II-VI Semiconductors, Applied Surface Science 254 4908-4911. Romeo, et al, (2007) bifacial Configurations for CdTe Solar Cells, Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells 91 1388-1391. Perez, et al, (2009) CdTe Solar Cell Degradation Studies with the use of CdS as the Window Material, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 93 79-84.

Publications
y N. Amin, M. M. Aliyu, M. A. Matin1,, A. Islam, M. R. Karim, M. Y. Sulaiman and K.

Sopian, Prospects of Ternary CdZnTe in a Graded Bandgap Thin film Solar Cells. World Renewable Energy Congress XI, 25-30 September 2010, Abu Dhabi, UAE y M.A. Matin, M.M. Aliyu, A. Quadery, N. Amin, Prospects of novel front and back contacts for high ef ciency cadmium telluride thin film solar cells from numerical analysis, Solar Cells and Solar Materials 94 (2010) 1496-1500

y Ultra Thin Absorber Layer with Novel Back Contact for High Efficiency

CdS/CdTe Solar Cells, N. Amin , M. A. Matin, M. M. Aliyu, A.S.M. M. Zaman, K. Sopian and M. Y. Sulaiman, World Renewable Energy Congress XI,
25-30 September 2010, Abu Dhabi, UAE

y Aminul Islam, M.A. Matin, M.Mannir Aliyu, Y.Sulaiman and

Nowshad Amin, A Numerical Analysis on CdS:O Window Layer for Higher Efficiency CdTe Solar Cells, 1st International Conference on the Developments in Renewable Energy Technology (ICDRET 09), December 17-20, 2009, Dhaka Bangladesh

Publications
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y y

M.M. Aliyu, M. A. Matin , N. Amin and K. Sopian, CdTe-Based Flexible Solar Cells on Metallic Substrates: Issues and Prospects, Proceedings of International Conference on Advances in Renewable Energy Technologies, 6-7 July 2010, Putrajaya, Malaysia M.A.Matin, M.M.Aliyu, M.R.Karim, N.Amin, M. Y. Sulaiman, K. Sopian Towards Ultra Thin and High Efficiency CdTe Solar Cell, Proceedings of International Conference on Advances in Renewable Energy Technologies, 6-7 July 2010, Putrajaya, Malaysia. Aminul Islam, M.M. Aliyu, M. A. Matin, Yusuf Sulaiman and Nowshad Amin, Investigation of the affect of window layer thickness, Temperature and Sun Intensity on four different CdTe solar cell structure by Numerical Analysis. Proceedings of International Conference on Advances in Renewable Energy Technologies, 6-7 July 2010, Putrajaya, Malaysia. M. M. Aliyu, M. A. Martin, N. Amin and M. Y. Sulaiman, Prospects of Ternary CdZnTe in a Graded Bandgap Thin film Solar Cells, World Renewable Energy Congress XI 25-30 September 2010, Abu Dhabi, UAE N. Amin, M. A. Matin, M. M. Aliyu, A.S.M M. Zaman, K. Sopian and M. Y. Sulaiman Ultra Thin Absorber Layer with Novel Back Contact for High Efficiency CdS/CdTe Solar Cells World Renewable Energy Congress XI 25-30 September 2010, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Thank You All