RF magnetron triode sputtering of CdTe and ZnTe films and solar cells

Sanford, Adam
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The n-CdS/p-CdTe solar cell has been researched for many years now. Research groups use a variety of processes to fabricate thin-film CdS/CdTe cells, including physical vapor deposition, chemical vapor deposition, and RF diode sputtering. One of the central areas of investigation concerning CdS/CdTe cells is the problem of a Schottky barrier at the back contact. Even cells fabricated with ohmic back contacts degrade into Schottky barriers as the devices are used. This severely degrades power generation. One possible solution is to use p+-ZnTe as an interlayer between CdTe and the back contact. ZnTe is easily doped with Cu to be p-type. However, even contacts with this ZnTe interlayer degrade over time, because Cu is highly mobile and diffuses away from the contact towards the CdS/CdTe junction. Another possibility is to dope ZnTe with N. It has been demonstrated using molecular beam epitaxy and RF diode sputtering.;In this study, CdTe films are fabricated using a variation of RF diode sputtering called triode sputtering. This technique allows for control of ion bombardment to the substrate during deposition. Also, a higher plasma density near the target is achieved allowing depositions at lower pressures. These films are characterized structurally to show the effects of the various deposition parameters.;N-doped ZnTe films are also fabricated using this technique. These films are characterized electrically to show the effects of the various deposition parameters. Also, the effects of post-deposition annealing are observed. It is found that annealing at the right temperature can increase the conductivity of the films by a factor of 3 or more. However, annealing at higher temperatures decreases the conductivity to as low as 12% of the initial conductivity.;Finally, RF triode sputtered N-doped ZnTe films are used as an interlayer at the back contact of a CdS/CdTe solar cell. The effects of annealing the device before and after contact deposition are observed. Annealing before depositing contacts results in an increase in Voc of 20mV. Annealing after contact deposition results in a degradation of fill factor over time.

Electrical and computer engineering, Electrical engineering (Microelectronics), Microelectronics