Effect of CdCl2 passivation treatment on microstructure and performance of CdSeTe/CdTe thin-film photovoltaic devices

The effects of the CdCl2passivation treatment on thin-film CdTe photovoltaic films and devices have been extensively studied. Recently, with an addition of CdSeTe layer at the front of the absorber layer, device conversion efficiencies in excess of 19% have been demonstrated. The effects of the CdCl2passivation treatment for devices using CdSeTe has not been studied previously. This is the first reported study of the effect of the treatment on the microstructure of the CdSeTe /CdTe absorber. The device efficiency is < 1% for the as-deposited device but this is dramatically increased by the CdCl2treatment. Using Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM), we show that the CdCl2passivation of CdSeTe/CdTe films results in the removal of high densities of stacking faults, increase in grain size and reorientation of grains. The CdCl2treatment leads to grading of the absorber CdSeTe/CdTe films by diffusion of Se between the CdSeTe and CdTe regions. Chlorine decorates the CdSeTe and CdTe grain boundaries leading to their passivation. Direct evidence for these effects is presented using STEM and Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis (EDX) on device cross-sections prepared using focused ion beam etching. The grading of the Se in the device is quantified using EDX line scans. The comparison of CdSeTe/CdTe device microstructure and composition before and after the CdCl2treatment provides insights into the important effects of the process and points the way to further improvements that can be made.