Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Christos. S. Ferekides, Ph.D

Committee Member

Don Morel, Ph.D

Committee Member

Richard Gilbert, Ph.D

Committee Member

Y.L. Chiou, Ph.D

Committee Member

Sarath Witanachchi, Ph.D


CdTe, Contacts, Ni-P, ZnTe, Dry Etching, Stability


The goals of this project are study Cu free back contact alternatives for CdS/CdTe thin film solar cells, and to research dry etching for CdTe surface preparation before contact application. In addition, an attempt has been made to evaluate the stability of some of the contacts researched. The contacts studied in this work include ZnTe/Cu2Te, Sb2Te3, and Ni-P alloys.

The ZnTe/Cu2Te contact system is studied as basically an extension of the earlier work done on Cu2Te at USF. RF sputtering from a compound target of ZnTe and Cu2Te respectively deposits these layers on etched CdTe surface. The effect of Cu2Te thickness and deposition temperature on contact and cell performance will be studied with the ZnTe depositions conditions kept constant. C-V measurements to study the effect of contact deposition conditions on CdTe doping will also be performed. These contacts will then be stressed to high temperatures (70-100 degrees C) and their stability with stress time is analyzed.

Sb2Te3 will be deposited on glass using RF sputtering, to study film properties with deposition temperature. The Sb2Te3 contact performance will also be studied as a function of the Sb2Te3 deposition temperature and thickness. The suitability of Ni-P alloys for back contacts to CdTe solar cells was studied by forming a colloidal mixture of Ni2P in graphite paste. The Ni-P contacts, painted on Br-methanol etched CdTe surface, will be studied as a function of Ni-P concentration (in the graphite paste), annealing temperature and time. Some of these cells will undergo temperature stress testing to determine contact behavior with time.

Dry etching of CdTe will be studied as an alternative for wet etching processes currently used for CdTe solar cells. The CdTe surface is isotropically etched in a barrel reactor in N2, Ar or Ar:O2 ambient. The effect of etching ambient, pressure, plasma power and etch time on contact performance will be studied.