High resolution 3D chemical characterisation of a cadmium telluride solar cell by dynamic SIMS

Impurity elements such as chlorine and sulphur can have significant effects on the electrical performance of cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells. Here, the 3D distribution of such elements in a cadmium chloride treated CdTe device has been determined by high resolution dynamic SIMS, a novel technique that has not been applied to thin-film PV cells. It is found that as well as segregating to grain boundaries following treatment, chlorine also segregates to the CdS/CdTe interface. Conversely, sulphur shows a U-shaped diffusion profile. These results have potential implications for the processing thin-film CdTe devices.