Stability of CdTe/CdS thin-film solar cells

Kevin D. Dobson, Iris Visoly-Fisher, Gary Hodes, David Cahen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

334 Scopus citations


The recent literature regarding the stability of CdTe/CdS photovoltaic cells (as distinguished from modules) is reviewed. Particular emphasis is given to the role of Cu as a major factor that can limit the stability of these devices. Cu is often added to improve the ohmic contact to p-CdTe and the overall cell photovoltaic performance. This may be due to the formation of a Cu2Te/CdTe back contact. Excess Cu also enhances the instability of devices when under stress. The Cu, as Cu+, from either Cu2Te or other sources, diffuses via grain boundaries to the CdTe/CdS active junction. Recent experimental data indicate that Cu, Cl and other diffusing species reach (and accumulate at) the CdS layer, which may not be expected on the basis of bulk diffusion. These observations may be factors in cell behavior and degradation, for which new mechanisms are suggested and areas for future study are highlighted. Other possible Cu-related degradation mechanisms, as well as some non-Cu-related issues for cell stability are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-325
Number of pages31
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 May 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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