First principles calculations of point defect diffusion in CdS buffer layers: Implications for Cu(In,Ga)(Se,S)2 and Cu2ZnSn(Se,S)4-based thin-film photovoltaics

J. B. Varley, V. Lordi, X. He, A. Rockett

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We investigate point defects in CdS buffer layers that may arise from intermixing with Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGSe) or Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 (CZTSSe) absorber layers in thin-film photovoltaics (PV). Using hybrid functional calculations, we characterize the migration barriers of Cu, In, Ga, Se, Sn, Zn, Na, and K impurities and assess the activation energies necessary for their diffusion into the bulk of the buffer. We find that Cu, In, and Ga are the most mobile defects in CIGS-derived impurities, with diffusion expected to proceed into the buffer via interstitial-hopping and cadmium vacancy-assisted mechanisms at temperatures ∼400 °C. Cu is predicted to strongly favor migration paths within the basal plane of the wurtzite CdS lattice, which may facilitate defect clustering and ultimately the formation of Cu-rich interfacial phases as observed by energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopic elemental maps in real PV devices. Se, Zn, and Sn defects are found to exhibit much larger activation energies and are not expected to diffuse within the CdS bulk at temperatures compatible with typical PV processing temperatures. Lastly, we find that Na interstitials are expected to exhibit slightly lower activation energies than K interstitials despite having a larger migration barrier. Still, we find both alkali species are expected to diffuse via an interstitially mediated mechanism at slightly higher temperatures than enable In, Ga, and Cu diffusion in the bulk. Our results indicate that processing temperatures in excess of ∼400 °C will lead to more interfacial intermixing with CdS buffer layers in CIGSe devices, and less so for CZTSSe absorbers where only Cu is expected to significantly diffuse into the buffer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025703
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 14 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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