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PV materials

Probe light emission characteristics of PV materials with CL

Photovoltaics will play a critical role in the global energy transition to a fully renewable energy supply. To reach this goal, in-depth characterization and understanding of  photovoltaic materials is critical. Cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging can play an important role in this endeavor. The technique can be employed to image local defects and band structure of photovoltaic (PV) semiconductor materials on small length scales. It is a contactless nanoscale imaging method for studying bulk, thin-film, and micro/nanostructured PV materials. CL is particularly powerful for studying second-generation thin-film PV such as CdTe, CIGS, GaAs as well as novel third-generation materials such as Perovskites, CZTS, III/V nanowires and more.

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What we can help you to achieve
  • Gain insight into the local electronic band structure, grain boundaries and more
  • Study local optical properties of systems, important for light management in cells
  • Acquire quantitative and meaningful data
  • Characterize PV materials from the visible to the near-infrared spectral region
  • Combine with other SEM techniques for a more complete understanding of your system
Cathodoluminescence intensity map of perovskite structure

In-depth characterization of CIGS thin-film solar cells

CIGS (Cu(In,Ga)Se2 is a compound semiconductor material that is used to make efficient thin-film solar cells. Using CL imaging one can gain insight into the optoelectronic properties of CIGS. In particular, when studying a CIGS film in cross-section one can measure the gradient in band-gap which is present in these cells in the growth direction. 

This can be linked to the elemental composition using the appropriate models. Such information can be used to better understand cell behavior and ultimately develop more efficient cells.

What can you achieve with cathodoluminescence?

The CL information obtained from PV materials can be used for growth optimization, failure/defect analysis, and checking the  (in)homogeneity in the material, to name some examples. CL analysis can be combined with other SEM techniques for a more complete analysis. In particular, EBIC, EBSD, ECCI, and EDS are often combined with CL imaging. The technique can be applied to a range of PV materials and geometries including thin films, multi-junction cells and nanostructured solar cells.

CL intensity image of a 3D methyl-ammonium lead chloride perovskite structure SEM image of a 3D methyl-ammonium lead chloride perovskite structure
Image slider shows CL intensity and SEM images of a 3D methyl-ammonium lead chloride perovskite structure. Images courtesy of the Noorduin Lab (AMOLF). Also see T. Holtus et al. Nature Chemistry 10, 740-745 (2018).

Use the right products to get the right results

Delmic CL solutions offers a range of powerful and user-friendly cathodoluminescence detectors, which can help you learn more about both bulk and nanostructured materials.

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