Yanfa Yan, Mowafak M. Al-Jassim

Thin-film photovoltaic modules hold great promise to produce sustainable, low-cost, and clean electricity from sunlight, because thin-film solar cells can potentially be fabricated by economical, high-volume manufacturing techniques. However, to achieve high sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency, thin-film solar cells require sophisticated control on interface formation and materials qualities. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) provides unique methods to access this information at the nanometer scale. In this paper, we provide a brief review on TEM studies of the interfaces, microstructure, and lattice defects in chalcogenide thin-film photovoltaic materials. We analyze the potential effects of the observed interface formation and materials quality that could affect the performance of solar cells.

This paper was originally published in Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science (2012) 16, 39-44.


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