Reduction of Fermi Level Pinning and Recombination at Polycrystalline CdTe Surfaces by Laser Irradiation

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Laser processing of polycrystalline CdTe is a promising approach that could potentially increase module manufacturing throughput while reducing capital expenditure costs. For these benefits to be realized, the basic effects of laser irradiation on CdTe must be ascertained. In this study, we utilize surface photovoltage spectroscopy (SPS) to investigate the changes to the electronic properties of the surface of polycrystalline CdTe solar cell stacks induced by continuous-wave laser annealing. The experimental data explained within a model consisting of two space charge regions, one at the CdTe/air interface and one at the CdTe/CdS junction, are used to interpret our SPS results. The frequency dependence and phase spectra of the SPS signal are also discussed. To support the SPS findings, low-temperature spectrally-resolved photoluminescence and time-resolved photoluminescence were also measured. The data show that a modest laser treatment of 250 W/cm2 with a dwell time of 20 s is sufficient to reduce the effects of Fermi level pinning at the surface due to surface defects.

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Journal of Applied Physics, v. 117, issue 22, art. 225301