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Alkali incorporation into solution processed CIGS precursor layers

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conference contribution
posted on 22.06.2009, 13:49 by Christopher J. Hibberd, H.M. Upadhyaya, David J. Scurr, A.N. Tiwari
Solution based ion-exchange reactions offer a simple, non-vacuum route for adding Cu into In- Ga-Se precursor layers as a step in a low-cost process for the preparation of Cu(In, Ga)Se2 (CIGS) solar cells. The chemically treated precursor layers may be converted into CIGS by annealing with Se vapour. Structural and compositional characterisation has shown that the converted layers have good composition, microstructure and crystalline phase content. Nevertheless, photovoltaic cells processed from these layers have failed to produce energy conversion efficiencies greater than ~4% under standard test conditions. The chemical bath used for the incorporation of Cu into the precursor layers includes a complexant for stability and this complexant contains alkali atoms, which are known to strongly influence the properties of CIGS. Low alkali content is highly desirable in CIGS layers but excessive inclusion may be detrimental. This paper reports the results of an investigation into the potential incorporation of excess alkali atoms from the solution into the precursor layers. Whilst no evidence of alkali incorporation is detected by energy dispersive X-ray analysis, clear evidence is seen in time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry measurements. The implications of this are discussed in terms of reported effects on device performance.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Research Unit

  • Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)


HIBBERD, C.J. ... et al, 2009. Alkali incorporation into solution processed CIGS precursor layers. IN: 5th Photovoltaic Science Application and Technology (PVSAT-5) Conference and Exhibition, 1-3 April 2009, Glyndŵr University, Wrexham.


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