Copper (Cu) incorporation is a key process for fabricating efficient CdTe-based thin-film solar cells and has been used in CdTe-based solar cell module manufacturing. Here, we investigate the effects of different Cu precursors on the performance of CdTe-based thin-film solar cells by incorporating Cu using a metallic Cu source (evaporated Cu) and ionic Cu sources (solution-processed cuprous chloride (CuCl) and copper chloride (CuCl2)). We find that ionic Cu precursors offer much better control in Cu diffusion than the metallic Cu precursor, producing better front junction quality, lower back-barrier heights, and better bulk defect property. Finally, outperforming power conversion efficiencies of 17.2 and 17.5% are obtained for devices with cadmium sulfide and zinc magnesium oxide as the front window layers, respectively, which are among the highest reported CdTe solar cells efficiencies. Our results suggest that an ionic Cu precursor is preferred as the dopant to fabricate efficient CdTe thin-film solar cells and modules.
Keywords: CdTe solar cell; Cu doping; CuCl; CuCl2; ionic Cu precursor.