Analysis and optimisation of the glass/TCO/MZO stack for thin film CdTe solar cells.

25 July 2018


Magnesium-doped Zinc Oxide (MZO) films have recently been proposed as a transparent buffer layer for thin film CdTe solar cells. In this study, the band gap of MZO buffer layers was tuned for CdTe solar cells by increasing the substrate temperature during deposition.

Films were deposited by radio-frequency magnetron sputtering. Devices incorporating an optimised MZO buffer layer deposited at 300 °C with a band gap of 3.70 eV yielded a mean efficiency of 12.5% and a highest efficiency of 13.3%. Transmission electron microscopy showed that MZO films are uniformly deposited on the transparent conductive oxide (TCO) layer surface.

The favourable band alignment seems to positively counterbalance the low doping level of the MZO layer and its high lattice mismatch with CdTe. Titanium-doped indium oxide, tin-doped indium oxide and aluminium-doped zinc oxide TCOs were also used as alternatives to fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO), in combination with MZO films.

The use of titanium-doped indium oxide and tin-doped indium oxide TCOs did not improve the device efficiency achieved compared with FTO, however using aluminium-doped zinc oxide coupled with a boro-aluminosilicate glass substrate the mean and highest efficiencies were further improved to 12.6% and 13.4% respectively.


Francesco Bittau, Christos Potamialis, Mustafa Togay, Ali Abbas, Patrick J.M. Isherwood, Jake W. Bowers, John M. Walls. Analysis and optimisation of the glass/TCO/MZO stack for thin film CdTe solar cells. Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST). 2018.]

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Categories: Solar & Photovoltaics, Material & Chemical