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Energies 2016, 9(4), 254; doi:10.3390/en9040254

How the Chlorine Treatment and the Stoichiometry Influences the Grain Boundary Passivation in Polycrystalline CdTe Thin Films

Thin Film Laboratory, Department of Physics and Earth Sciences, University of Parma, Parco area delle Scienze 7/A, Parma 43124, Italy
Computer Science Department, University of Verona, Ca' Vignal 1, Strada Le Grazie 15, Verona 37134, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jean-Michel Nunzi
Received: 21 January 2016 / Revised: 11 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Key Developments in Thin Film Solar Cells)
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The absorption coefficient of CdTe is large enough to assure that all of the visible light is absorbed in a thickness on the order of 1 µm. High efficiency devices are fabricated by using close-spaced sublimation (CSS)-deposited CdTe films with a thickness in the range of 6–8 µm. In order to decrease the thickness of the CdTe film, a novel approach has been used. On top of the CdTe film, whose thickness is reduced to 2–3 μm, another CdTe layer is deposited by RF sputtering, with a thickness of 100–200 nm. The purpose of this approach is to fill up the voids, which tend to form when a low thickness-CdTe film is deposited by close-spaced sublimation. Using this CdTe double layer, solar cells, with an efficiency greater than 15%, were reproducibly obtained. Since the CdTe layer deposited by the CSS technique shows a p-type behavior, whereas the layer deposited by sputtering is n-type, it is supposed that the formation of a p-n junction into the grain boundaries, which makes a mirror for the charge carriers, increases their mean lifetime. In order to also have this system after the essential chlorine treatment of the CdTe layer, a special cadmium-free halogen treatment was developed. This process was especially tuned for very thin (≤3 µm) CdTe film thickness and for not making use of cadmium-based chlorine salt while, producing high efficiency devices, meets a better economic and environmental sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: cadmium telluride; close-spaced sublimation; chlorine treatment; grain boundaries passivation cadmium telluride; close-spaced sublimation; chlorine treatment; grain boundaries passivation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Bosio, A.; Rosa, G.; Menossi, D.; Romeo, N. How the Chlorine Treatment and the Stoichiometry Influences the Grain Boundary Passivation in Polycrystalline CdTe Thin Films. Energies 2016, 9, 254.

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