Point defect engineering in thin-film solar cells

Ji Sang Park, Sunghyun Kim, Zijuan Xie, Aron Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Control of defect processes in photovoltaic materials is essential for realizing high-efficiency solar cells and related optoelectronic devices. Native defects and extrinsic dopants tune the Fermi level and enable semiconducting p-n junctions; however, fundamental limits to doping exist in many compounds. Optical transitions from defect states can enhance photocurrent generation through sub-bandgap absorption; however, these defect states are also often responsible for carrier trapping and non-radiative recombination events that limit the voltage in operating solar cells. Many classes of materials, including metal oxides, chalcogenides and halides, are being examined for next-generation solar energy applications, and each technology faces distinct challenges that could benefit from point defect engineering. Here, we review the evolution in the understanding of point defect behaviour from Si-based photovoltaics to thin-film CdTe and Cu(In,Ga)Se2 technologies, through to the latest generation of halide perovskite (CH3NH3PbI3) and kesterite (Cu2ZnSnS4) devices. We focus on the chemical bonding that underpins the defect chemistry and the atomistic processes associated with the photophysics of charge-carrier generation, trapping and recombination in solar cells. Finally, we outline general principles to enable defect control in complex semiconducting materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-210
Number of pages17
JournalNature Reviews Materials
Volume3
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 1

Fingerprint

Point defects
Defects
Solar cells
Doping (additives)
Chalcogenides
Optical transitions
Fermi level
Charge carriers
Photocurrents
Optoelectronic devices
Perovskite
Solar energy
Oxides
Thin film solar cells
Energy gap
Metals
Thin films
Electric potential

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry

Cite this

Park, Ji Sang ; Kim, Sunghyun ; Xie, Zijuan ; Walsh, Aron. / Point defect engineering in thin-film solar cells. In: Nature Reviews Materials. 2018 ; Vol. 3, No. 7. pp. 194-210.
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Point defect engineering in thin-film solar cells. / Park, Ji Sang; Kim, Sunghyun; Xie, Zijuan; Walsh, Aron.

In: Nature Reviews Materials, Vol. 3, No. 7, 01.07.2018, p. 194-210.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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