The activation of thin film CdTe solar cells using alternative chlorine containing compounds

The re-crystallisation of thin film cadmium telluride (CdTe) using cadmium chloride (CdCl2) is a vital process for obtaining high efficiency photovoltaic devices. However, the precise micro-structural mechanisms involved are not well understood. In this study, we have used alternative chlorine-containing compounds to determine if these can also assist the re-crystallisation of the CdTe layer and to understand the separate roles of cadmium and chlorine during the activation. The compounds used were: tellurium tetrachloride (TeCl4), cadmium acetate (Cd(CH3CO2)2), hydrochloric acid (HCl) and zinc chloride (ZnCl2). TeCl4was used to assess the role of Cl and the formation of a Te-rich outer layer which may assist the formation of the back contact. (Cd(CH3CO2)2) and HCl were used to distinguish between the roles of cadmium and chlorine in the process. Finally, ZnCl2was employed as an alternative to CdCl2. We report on the efficacy of using these alternative Cl-containing compounds to remove the high density of planar defects present in untreated CdTe.