Research and development of CdTe based thin film PV solar cells

DISO, Dahiru Garba (2011). Research and development of CdTe based thin film PV solar cells. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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The motivation behind this research is to bring cheap, low-cost and clean energy technologies to the society. Colossal use of fossil fuel has created noticeable pollution problems contributing to climate change and health hazards. Silicon based solar cells have dominated the market but it is cost is high due to the manufacturing process. Therefore, the way forward is to develop thin films solar cells using low-cost attractive materials, grown by cheaper, scalable and manufacturable techniques. The aim and objectives of this work is to develop low-cost, high efficiency solar cell using electrodeposition (ED) technique. The material layers include CdS and ZnTe as the window materials, while the absorber material is CdTe. Fabricating a suitable devices for solar energy conversion (i.e. glass/conducting glass/window material/absorber material/metal) structure. Traditional way of fabricating this structure is to grow window material (CdS) using chemical bath deposition (CBD) and absorber material (CdTe) using electrodeposition. However, CBD is a batch process and therefore creates large volumes of Cd-containing waste solutions each time adding high cost in manufacturing process. This research programme is therefore on development of an "All ED-solar cells" structure. Material studies were carried out using photoelectrochemical (PEC) studies, UV-Vis spectrophotometry, X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), Raman spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Furthermore, the electrical characterisation of fully fabricated devices was performed using current-voltage (I-V) and capacitance-voltage (C-V) measurements. This research programme has demonstrated that CdS and ZnTe window materials can be electrodeposited and used in thin film solar cell devices. The CdS electrolytic bath can be used for a period of 7 months without discarding it like in the CBD process which usually has life-time of 2-3 days. Further work should be carried out to increase the life-time of this bath, so that there can be used continuously minimising waste solution production in a manufacturing line. An efficiencies showing up to 7% was achieved for complete devices. However, the consistency and reproducibility remains un-resolved due to production of efficiencies between (2 - 7)% efficient devices varying from batch to batch. One of the reasons has been identified as the growth of CdS nano-rods with spacing between them. This is the first observation of CdS nano-rods and could open up many applications in nano-devices area. In order to improve the consistency of the solar cell efficiency, CdS layers should be grown with nano-rods aligned perpendicular to the glass surface and with tight packing without gaps, or with uniform coverage of CdS over the conducting glass surface. The possibility of growth of CdTe absorber layers with n- and p-type electrical conduction using change of stoichiometry was confirmed using the results presented in this thesis. This is a key finding, important to form multi-layer solar cell structures in the future.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Dharmadasa, I
Thesis advisor - Vernon-Parry, Karen [0000-0002-5844-9017]
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2012 09:36
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:03

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