Polycrystalline thin film solar cells on copper indium diselenide (CulnSe) and its alloys and cadmium telluride (CdTe) appear to be the most promising candidates for large-scale application of photovoltaic energy conversion because they have shown laboratory-efficiences in excess of 15%. Heterojunction devices with n-type cadmium sulfide (CdS) films show very low minority carrier recombination at the absorber grain boundaries and at the metallurgical interface, which results in high quantum efficiences. Open circuit voltages of these devices are relatively low owing to the recombination in the space charge region in the absorber. Further improvements in efficiency can be achieved by reducing the recombination current, especially in devices based on CulnSe and its alloys. Low-cost manufacturing of modules requires better resolution of a number of other technical issues. For modules based on CulnSe and its alloys, the role of Na and higher deposition rates on device performance need to be better understood. In addition, replacing the chemical bath deposition method for CdS film deposition with an equally effective, but more environmentally acceptable process is needed. For modules based on CdTe, more fundamental understanding of the effect of chloride/oxygen treatment and the development of more reproducible and manufacturable CdTe contacting schemes are necessary.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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