Physical vapor deposition of novel thin-film solar absorbers Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8k71nk34x

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  • Current leading thin-film solar cell technologies, i.e., cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), employ elements which are either toxic (Cd), or rare and/or expensive (In, Te, Ga, and Cd). The aim of this thesis is to investigate new, abundant, non-toxic p-type semiconductors for potential solar absorber application. Two ternary chalcogenides, Cu₃PSe₄ and CuTaS₃, were selected for their attractive calculated optical absorption properties. Thin films of both materials were synthesized using physical vapor deposition (PVD) techniques in conjunction with post-deposition annealing. Cu₃PSe₄ appears promising for solar absorber applications, with a measured optical bandgap of 1.2 eV, an absorption coefficient (α) reaching 10⁵ cm⁻¹, Hall mobilities of 19.8–30.3 cm²/V•s, and carrier concentrations of 3.3–4.9 10¹⁶ cm⁻³. Optical characterization of CuTaS₃ thin-films showed a rapid turn-on of absorption, with α exceeding 10⁵ cm⁻¹ within 0.5 eV of the bandgap. To date, reproducible synthesis of CuTaS₃ thin films has been problematic. Moreover, these films are insulating and thus not yet appropriate for thin-film solar cell absorber applications.
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