Scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have developed an interdigitated back contact (IBC), copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) solar cell with a sub-micron thickness of 673nm. As the performance, uniformity, and reliability of CIGS products improve, the technology has the potential to expand its market share significantly and may eventually become a “disruptive” technology. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. A CIGS solar cell consists of several layers of materials, with Cu(In. A schematic of the layer structure of a typical CIGS cell is CIGS thin-film solar cells have reached 21.7 percent efficiency in laboratory settings and 18.7 percent efficiency in the field, making CIGS a leader among alternative cell materials and a promising semiconducting material in thin-film technologies. We have therefrom demonstrated a DSSC/CIGS tandem solar cell that shows a higher solar cell performance (PCE of 13.0%) than the corresponding single-junction devices of DSSC (~7.25%) or CIGS (~6.2%). BRUSSELS (Belgium), SEPTEMBER 24, 2018 — Today at the EU PVSEC conference, imec, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics, energy and digital technologies, presents a thin-film tandem solar cell consisting of a top perovskite cell developed by imec within the partnerships of EnergyVille and Solliance, and a bottom CIGS cell from the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen … CIGS Solar Cell With IBC Structure And Up To 19.7% Efficiency. It is manufactured by depositing a thin layer of copper, indium, gallium and selenium on glass or plastic backing, … CIGS solar cells feature a thin film of copper indium selenide and copper gallium selenide and a trace amount of sodium. Although CIGS solar cells are considered to be in the early stages of large-scale commercialization, they can be produced by using a process that has the potential to reduce the cost of producing photovoltaic devices. Applications. In IBC struc- In one process, a printer lays droplets of semiconducting ink onto an aluminum foil. The substrate may be made of glass or made of a polymer material that provides flexibility. CIGS Cell using CdS Buffer. CIGS-based thin-film solar cell modules currently represent the highest-efficiency alternative for large-scale, commercial thin-film solar cells. Exploring a Better Way to Make CIGS Solar Cells, Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film solar cells are now in production for energy conversion devices. Deposition can be done without a vacuum, using nanoparticles or electroplating, though those techniques require more development to be economically efficient at a large-scale. The thin-film cell is deposited onto a substrate, such as soda-lime glass, metal, or a polyamide film, to form the rear surface contact. How Microplastics Transport to Remote Regions Around the Globe, Evaluating Ceramic Materials for 5G Networks. Precursor or post-deposition treatments of … The structure of polycrystalline thin-film cells contains many tiny crystalline grains of semiconductor materials. It shows how X-ray diffraction using a grazing-incidence sampling accessory (GIXRD) for thin film characterizations, and the complementary EDXRF technique, are capable of characterizing layers within a CIGS solar cell stack. Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) solar cell is a thin-film solar cell, which is used for converting sunlight into electricity. Previously 6, 7, it has been shown that a similar rear contacting structure can be used to passivate the rear CIGS interface of CIGS solar cells. Efficient sunlight absorption can be achieved in CIGS layers as thin as 1 µm, 100 times thinner than a crystalline silicon solar cell4, as evidenced in Figure 1. Our technical poster demonstrates the efficacy of the spray pyrolysis technique. From the dark J-V curves, the saturated current density (J CIGS is made through deposition a thin layer of copper, indium, gallium, and selenium on glass or plastic, and with electrodes on the front and back to collect electricity. The buffer is made of a material that provides a band gap layer between the absorber and the electrical transmitter. Your email address will not be published. CIGS solar cells is still quite lower than that achieved in Si (similar bandgap) 2. Solar cell structure and operation Solar cells, whether used in a central power station, a satellite , or a calculator, have the same basic structure. We commonly use the following in our CIGS thin-film cell research and development: 1. Copper, gallium, and indium are deposited in turn and annealed with a selenide vapour, resulting in the final CIGS structure. The newest generation of thin-film solar cells uses thin layers of either cadmium telluride (CdTe) or copper indium gallium deselenide (CIGS) instead. CIGS solar cells are also a fraction of the weight of silicon cells and can be manufactured without glass to be shatter-resistant. A CIGS solar cell consists of several layers of materials, with Cu (In1Ga)Se2 as the energy absorber layer sandwiched between a substrate, electrical contacts, and a buffer layer. Source: pv-magazine. One way to do this is by cleaving the sample. All Rights Reserved. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The buffer layer, also known as the window layer, helps ease the electrical transition from the CIGS absorber layer to the transparent Al doped ZnO top contact. However, commercial CIGS cells have lower efficiencies, with most modules attaining about 14 percent conversion. In a CIGS thin film solar cell, the buffer layer is interposed between the absorber layer and the window layer, which plays an important role in interface electricity. It is a tetrahedrally bonded semiconductor, with the chalcopyrite crystal structure. CIGS solar cell, in full copper indium gallium selenide solar cell, thin-film photovoltaic device that uses semiconductor layers of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) to absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. CIGS solar cells feature a thin film of copper indium selenide and copper gallium selenide and a trace amount of sodium. CdS is used optionally and some CIGS cells contain no cadmium at all. This cell provides a high absorption coefficient, high temperature stability, and is low-cost compared to other collection materials. Starting from the results regarding a nonvacuum technique to fabricate CIGS thin films for solar cells by means of single-step electrodeposition, we focus on the methodological problems of modeling at cell structure and photovoltaic module levels. CIGS Cell using CdS Buffer. The poster additionally looks at the growth of films influenced by varying concentrations of actinium compounds (ZnAc and HAc) in the spray pyrolysis application. The key parts of the cell are the CIGS absorber and the CdS buffer layer. In this case the CIGS cell was deposited on a glass substrate. The differ - ent layers in the SEM image have been colored for clarity. This paper uses numerical simulation to study the effects of Ga concentration profile on the performance of CuIn 1-x Ga x Se 2 (CIGS) solar cell, including the effects of acceptor type Cu antisite defects whose concentration depends on Ga composition. Zinc oxide can be doped with certain elements to enhance the intrinsic n-type conductivity of the semiconductor, or with divalent elements such as Mg, which increase or decrease the band gap due to differences in the crystalline structures such as zincite- or periclase-type structures, or nanorods. We show how EDXRF will determine layer thicknesses in the CIGS stack and how GIXRD measures Zn1-XMgX layers with varying Mg concentrations in order to characterize the crystalline growth of the material as the quantity of Mg varies. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, https://www.britannica.com/technology/CIGS-solar-cell, Energy.gov - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy - Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide. Cu(In,Ga)Se 2 (CIGS) solar cells are one of the most prominent thin-film technologies, with record lab efficiencies of 23.4% achieved in 20191 by Solar Frontier2 3.The CIGS material has a direct bandgap and high absorption coefficient. The bandgap varies continuously with x from about 1.0 eV (for copper indium selenide) to about 1.7 eV (for copper gallium selenide). Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. 14,18,19 Also, in case of flexible CIGS solar cells, the metallic grid causes an additional optical shading,20 reducing even more the optical performance of these solar cells. Omissions? Although there are several techniques for depositing this buffer material, studies have shown that spray pyrolysis is a relatively safe and effective method of layering Zn1-XMgX films. A simplified Cu(In, Ga)Se2 (CIGS) solar cell structure based on a 500 nm thin CIGS layer is presented. Upon heating it transforms to the zincblende form and the transition temperature decreases from 1045 °C for x=0 to 805 °C for x=1. In addition to crystalline silicon, three alternative absorber materials are used for manufacturing solar cells: amorphous silicon (a-Si) or a combination of amorphous and microcrystalline silicon (a-Si/μc- Si), the compound semiconductor cadmium telluride (CdTe) or a compound semiconductor made of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (Cu(In,Ga)Se 2, CIS or CIGS for short). Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. NREL has the ability to deposit all layers of CIGS thin-film solar cells, from 1.5-by-1.5-in. Great gains in efficiency could be attained if ... o Simplify device structure, if possible o Eliminate need for long heat treatments, light soaking o Demonstrate stable, higher performing cells with higher photocurrent . Co-evaporators with electron-impact ionization spectrometer rate control for CIGS deposition 3. A copper indium gallium selenide solar cell (or CIGS cell, sometimes CI (G)S or CIS cell) is a thin-film solar cell used to convert sunlight into electric power. Spray pyrolysis is a versatile solution-based growth technique that yields high-quality ZnO films. CIGS is a tetrahedrally bonded semiconductor, with the chalcopyrite crystal structure. Your email address will not be published. Oxide-based wide-band gap materials are attractive for an extensive range of applications, such as solar collector cells, functional coatings, (opto)electronic devices, or sensors. Owing to this problem, solar cell developers are exploring alternative materials. Materials such as indium tin oxide, doped zinc oxide, or, more recently, advanced organic films based on nano-engineered carbon are used to provide that ohmic contact. The above-mentioned optical losses can be avoided by an interdigitated back-contacted (IBC) solar cell structure. The efficiency of CdTe solar cells has been a little more than 15 percent, and CIGS solar cells have 20 percent efficiency. These studies will enable CIGS film and other solar collection device developers to find safer, cheaper and more efficient materials for emerging green technologies. During the manufacturing process, the deposition of CIGS films onto a substrate is frequently done in a vacuum, using either an evaporative or a sputtering process. In 2014, laboratory experiments produced a record efficiency of 23.2 percent by a CIGS cell with a modified surface structure. The advanced cell design also combines a rear surface passivation layer and—as thin film solar cells have short minority carrier diffusion lengths—a technologically feasible approach to generate nano-sized local point contacts. A “depletion region” is formed at the heterojunction of the p- and n-type materials of the cadmium-doped surface of the CIGS cell. Solar cells were characterized with current-voltage (J-V) and external quantum efficiency (EQE) measure- ments. In the world of semiconductors, “band gap” is the difference in energy between the valence band and the conduction band of a solid material. These defects are the dominant deep traps in the CIGS … Structure optimization for a high efficiency CIGS solar cell Abstract: This paper uses numerical simulation to study the effects of Ga concentration profile on the performance of CuIn 1-x Ga x Se 2 (CIGS) solar cell, including the effects of acceptor type Cu antisite defects whose concentration depends on Ga composition. The DSSC/CIGS tandem solar cell was fabricated via a simple solution-based process by preparing the CIGS absorber film for the bottom cell using CIGS nanoparticle ink. In spray pyrolysis, a precursor solution containing volatile metal salts forms a mist of droplets that are directed onto a heated substrate. CIGS solar cells, cross sections need to be prepared. sample sizes. to 6-by-6in. The substrate may be made of glass or made of a polymer material that provides flexibility. If a nonconductive material is chosen for the substrate, a metal such as molybdenum is used as a conductor. The structure of the solar cell is (Ni/Al)/MgF 2 /ZnO:B/i-ZnO/CdS/OVC/CIGS/Mo/substrate (Figure 1). The cells are designed so that light enters through the transparent front ohmic contact and is absorbed into the CIGS layer. It is best known as the material for CIGS solar cells a thin-film technology used in the photovoltaic industry. The world-record NREL CIGS device is based on this substrate structure and demonstrates a conversion efficiency of 20.0%. Required fields are marked *, Privacy StatementTerms & ConditionsLocationsSitemap. We develop new materials for the window layer structure for thin film solar cells based on chalcogenide absorbers like Cu(In,Ga)Se 2 (CIGS) and Cu 2 ZnSn(S,Se) 4 (CZTS). CIGS solar cells can be manufactured on flexible substrates, which makes them suited for a variety of applications for which current crystalline photovoltaics and other rigid products are not suitable. Additionally, given the hazards of cadmium extraction and use, CIGS solar cells offer fewer health and environmental concerns than the cadmium telluride solar cells with which they compete. … By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. This cell provides a high absorption coefficient, high temperature stability, and is low-cost compared to other collection materials. In addition, the scientists stated, “In the case of flexible CIGS solar cells, the metallic grid causes an additional optical shading, reducing even more the optical performance.” The IBC cell designed by the Delft team was compared with an 11.9%-efficient FBC device supplied by Dutch institute Solliance Solar Research , with the Delft team focusing particularly on absorber performance. Beside the toxicity of Cd, the main drawback of CdS is its relatively narrow band gap (2.4 eV), which can lead to the current loss due to parasitic absorption. The effect of changing optical, electrical and structural material properties of the window layer in relation to the electrical performance of the solar cell devices is studied. An SEM image of a cleaved sample is shown (Figure 1a). Novel approaches are being developed that are more similar to printing technologies than traditional silicon solar-cell fabrication. The MIS, on the other hand, has the following structure: SLG/Mo (300nm)/CIGS (1.6mm)/ /HfO x(30nm)/Ag grids. The layer between the CdS and CIGS absorber is a thin layer named ordered vacancy compound (OVC). They can be integrated into vehicles such as tractor trailers, airplanes, and cars, as their low profile minimizes air resistance and they do not add significant weight. Courtesy Shou-Yi Kuo, Chang Gung Univ., via Creative Commons. Solar cells have 550 nm thick, single-stage CIGS absorber layers with an active area of 0.5 cm 2 . One company, Nanosolar, based in San Jose, Calif., has developed a way to make the CIGS material as an ink containing nanoparticles. Is low-cost compared to other collection materials copper indium selenide and copper gallium selenide and a trace amount of.. A tetrahedrally bonded semiconductor, with the chalcopyrite crystal structure process, a metal such as is! By signing Up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers and. 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Newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox deposits additional layers and the CdS buffer in... To allow light to reach the cell now in production for energy devices!, commercial CIGS cells have 20 percent efficiency allow light to reach the cell are the CIGS.... This article ( requires login ) and n-type materials of the cadmium-doped surface the! Your inbox about 14 percent conversion whether to revise the article by cleaving the sample than that achieved Si. Being developed that are more similar to printing technologies than traditional silicon solar-cell fabrication ” is formed at heterojunction! Film of copper indium selenide and copper gallium selenide and copper gallium selenide and a amount... Cadmium at all glass substrate cells have 550 nm thick, single-stage CIGS absorber layers with an active area 0.5... On the lookout cigs solar cell structure your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox 2 /ZnO: (... 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