Temperature dependence of electrical characterization in n +-CdS/p-CdTe thin film solar cells-study of shallow/deep defects

Poonam Rani Kharangarh, George E. Georgiou, Ken K. Chin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


For CdTe there is no real distinction between defects and impurities exists when non-shallow dopants are used. These dopants act as beneficial impurities or detrimental carrier trapping centers. Unlike Si, the common assumption that the trap energy level Et is around the middle of the band-gap Ei, is not valid for thin film CdTe. Trap energy levels in CdTe band-gap can distributed with wide range of energy levels above EF. To identify the real role of traps and dopants that limit the solar cell efficiency, a series of samples were investigated in thin film n+-CdS/p-CdTe solar cell, made with evaporated Cu as a primary back contact. It is well known that process temperatures and defect distribution are highly related. This work investigates these shallow level impurities by using temperature dependent current-voltage (I-V-T) and temperature dependent capacitance-voltage (C-V-T) measurements. I-V-T and C-V-T measurements indicate that a large concentration of defects is located in the depletion region. It further suggests that while modest amounts of Cu enhance the cell performance by improving the back contact to CdTe, the high temperature (greater than ∼100°C) process condition degrade device quality and reduce the solar cell efficiency. This is possibly because of the well-established Cu diffusion from the back contact into CdTe. Hence, measurements were performed at lower temperatures (T = 150K to 350K). The observed traps are due to the thermal ionization of impurity centers located in the depletion region of p-CdTe/n+-CdS junction. For our n +-CdS/p-CdTe thin film solar cells, hole traps were observed that are verified by both the measurement techniques. These levels are identical to the observed trap levels by other characterization techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-167
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
StatePublished - 2013
Event2012 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Nov 25 2012Nov 30 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • II-VI
  • defects
  • photovoltaic


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