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Title Interfacial Engineering and Charge Carrier Dynamics in Extremely Thin Absorber Solar Cells
Publication Date
University/Publisher Drexel University
Abstract Photovoltaic energy is a clean and renewable source of electricity; however, it faces resistance to widespread use due to cost. Nanostructuring decouples constraints related to light absorption and charge separation, potentially reducing cost by allowing a wider variety of processing techniques and materials to be used. However, the large interfacial areas also cause an increased dark current which negatively affects cell efficiency. This work focuses on extremely thin absorber (ETA) solar cells that used a ZnO nanowire array as a scaffold for an extremely thin CdSe absorber layer. Photoexcited electrons generated in the CdSe absorber are transferred to the ZnO layer, while photogenerated holes are transferred to the liquid electrolyte. The transfer of photoexcited carriers to their transport layer competes with bulk recombination in the absorber layer. After charge separation, transport of charge carriers to their respective contacts must occur faster than interfacial recombination for efficient collection. Charge separation and collection depend sensitively on the dimensions of the materials as well as their interfaces. We demonstrated that an optimal absorber thickness can balance light absorption and charge separation. By treating the ZnO/CdSe interface with a CdS buffer layer, we were able to improve the Voc and fill factor, increasing the ETA cell's efficiency from 0.53% to 1.34%, which is higher than that achievable using planar films of the same material. We have gained additional insight into designing ETA cells through the use of dynamic measurements. Ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy revealed that characteristic times for electron injection from CdSe to ZnO are less than 1 ps. Electron injection is rapid compared to the 2 ns bulk lifetime in CdSe. Optoelectronic measurements such as transient photocurrent/photovoltage and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy were applied to study the processes of charge transport and interfacial recombination. With these techniques, the extension of the depletion layer from CdSe into ZnO was determined to be vital to suppression of interfacial recombination. However, depletion of the ZnO also restricted the effective diffusion core for electrons and slowed their transport. Thus, materials and geometries should be chosen to allow for a depletion layer that suppresses interfacial recombination without impeding electron transport to the point that it is detrimental to cell performance. Thin film solar cells are another promising technology that can reduce costs by relaxing material processing requirements. CuInxGa(1-x)Se (CIGS) is a well studied thin film solar cell material that has achieved good efficiencies of 22.6%. However, use of rare elements raise concerns over the use of CIGS for global power production. CuSbS2 shares chemistry with CuInSe2 and also presents desirable properties for thin film absorbers such as optimal band gap (1.5 eV), high absorption coefficient, and Earth-abundant and non-toxic elements. Despite the promise of CuSbS2, direct…
Subjects/Keywords Chemical engineering; Nanostructured materials – Research; Solar cells – Materials; Photovoltaic cells
Contributors Baxter, Jason; College of Engineering
Language en
Country of Publication us
Format 122 leaves :
Record ID handle:1860/idea:7019
Other Identifiers idea:7019
Repository drexel
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2019-03-13

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