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Process for fabricating polycrystalline semiconductor thin-film solar cells, and cells produced thereby

United States Patent

October 24, 2000
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
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CdTe portfolio offers commercial ready high efficiency solar
A novel, simplified method for fabricating a thin-film semiconductor heterojunction photovoltaic device includes initial steps of depositing a layer of cadmium stannate and a layer of zinc stannate on a transparent substrate, both by radio frequency sputtering at ambient temperature, followed by the depositing of dissimilar layers of semiconductors such as cadmium sulfide and cadmium telluride, and heat treatment to convert the cadmium stannate to a substantially single-phase material of a spinel crystal structure. Preferably, the cadmium sulfide layer is also deposited by radio frequency sputtering at ambient temperature, and the cadmium telluride layer is deposited by close space sublimation at an elevated temperature effective to convert the amorphous cadmium stannate to the polycrystalline cadmium stannate with single-phase spinel structure.
Wu; Xuanzhi (Golden, CO), Sheldon; Peter (Lakewood, CO)
Midwest Research Institute (Kansas City, MO)
09/ 218,206
December 22, 1998
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-986010337 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by Midwest Research Institute, Battelle and Bechtel.