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Title: Development of transparent conducting oxides for photovoltaic applications
Author: Isherwood, Patrick J. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 4674
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2015
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Metal oxides are a very important class of materials with a wide range of photovoltaic applications. Transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) are the primary front contact materials used in thin film solar cells. Identification of methods for reducing the resistivity of these materials would have significant benefits. Development of p-type TCOs would provide alternative back contact materials and could enable further development of technologies such as bifacial, window and multijunction cells. A series of studies into these areas is presented in this work. Aluminium doped zinc oxide (AZO) is a well-known n-type TCO consisting entirely of Earth-abundant materials. Targets were manufactured from AZO powder, which was synthesised using a patented emulsion detonation process developed by Innovnano S.A. All films showed good optical transmission. Resistivity was found to decrease with both increasing time and temperature up to 300 degree C. Temperatures above 300 degree C were found to be detrimental to film formation, with increasing amounts of damage to the crystal structure and consequent increases in the resistivity. The effect of alloying molybdenum oxide with molybdenum nitride through reactive sputtering in a mixed oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere was investigated. All alloys were found to show p-type behaviour. Resistivity was found to improve with increased nitrogen content, in contrast to optical transmission, which reduced. A selection of compositions were deposited onto CdTe cells as back contacts. These cells showed an increase in efficiency with increasing nitrogen content. Work function was found to increase with increasing oxygen content, but all work functions were low. Resistivity was shown to correlate strongly with efficiency, caused by a corresponding increase in cell voltage. This implies that to form an ohmic contact on CdTe with p-type materials, work function may be less important than resistivity. The copper oxides are p-type, but uses are limited by the narrow band gaps. Cupric oxide was chosen for investigation and for alloying with other oxides with the aim of increasing the band gap. It was found that temperature and deposition environment have significant impacts on sputtered cupric oxide (CuO) films, with low temperatures and high oxygen environments producing the lowest resistivities. Extrinsic sodium doping was found to reduce the resistivity by up to four orders of magnitude. High oxygen content sodium-doped films were found to have carrier concentrations two orders of magnitude higher than that of indium tin oxide.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Transparent conducting oxides ; P-type TCOs ; Cupric oxide