CdTe-Based Solar Cells

CdTe is a II-VI compound semiconductor that is ideal for solar cell applications because it matches the solar spectrum very well. This means that it has a high theoretical efficiency of conversion of light into electricity. The typical CdTe-based solar cells is a thin-film, polycrystalline layer of p-type CdTe joined with n-type CdS, both of which have been deposited onto glass substrates. They are designed to trade high efficiency for low cost, thus opening new markets for photovoltaics. Our work has two main thrusts:

Thrust 1 is to develop a more complete understanding of CdTe ("Basic Studies of CdTe Solar Cells") as a material and as a part of a CdTe/CdS heterojunction solar cell (a pn junction diode), in an effort to improve the efficiencies of cells deposited on glass. We do this by identifying the dominant loss mechanisms existing in current designs.

Thrust 2 is to develop a CdTe -based solar cell on a metal foil which will make the cells lightweight and flexible, and will eliminate some processing/fabrication problems that reduce yield. With some improvements in efficiency and processing, a CdTe-based solar cell could well be inexpensive enough to be a solar cell for the masses, making photovoltaic electrical generation much more common place than it is today.

You can now learn more about the Electronic Devices Laboratory where we fabricate and characterize CdTe solar cells, luminescent displays, high speed electronic devices like the double electron layer tunneling transistor (DELTT), and simulate Modularly Configured Attached Processors (MCAP).


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