Development of ZnTe as a back contact material for thin film cadmium telluride solar cells

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is high-efficiency commercialised thin film photovoltaic technology. However, developing a stable low-resistivity back contact to the CdTe solar cells is still an issue. High work function and low level of doping of this material don't allow to create an ohmic contact with metals directly. Copper is commonly used to lower the back contact barrier in CdTe solar cells, but an excessive amount of copper diffusing through the cell is harmful for the device performance and stability. In this work a copper-doped ZnTe (ZnTe:Cu) buffer layer was incorporated in between CdTe and gold metal contact by high-rate pulsed DC magnetron sputtering. The back contact was then activated by rapid thermal processing (RTP) resulting in spectacular improvement in key device performance indicators, open circuit voltage (VOC) and fill factor (FF).