A thin film stack (100, 200) is provided for use in electronic devices such as photovoltaic devices. The stack (100, 200) may be integrated with a substrate (110) such as a light transmitting/transmissive layer. An electrical conductor layer (120, 220) is formed on a surface of the substrate (110) or device layer such as a transparent conducting (TC) material layer (120, 220) with pin holes or defects (224) caused by manufacturing. The stack (100) includes a thin film (130, 230) of metal that acts as a barrier for environmental contaminants (226, 228). The metal thin film (130, 230) is deposited on the conductor layer (120, 220) and formed from a self-healing metal such as a metal that forms self-terminating oxides. A permeation plug or block (236) is formed in or adjacent to the thin film (130, 230) of metal at or proximate to the pin holes (224) to block further permeation of contaminants through the pin holes (224).
The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308 between the United States Department of Energy and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, the Manager and Operator of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.