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In this work, we found that the interdiffusion of the CdS and Zn2SnO4 (ZTO) layers can occur either at high temperature (550–650 °C) in Ar or at lower temperature (400–420 °C) in a CdCl2 atmosphere. By integrating a Zn2SnO4 film into a CdS/CdTe solar cell as a buffer layer, this interdiffusion feature can solve several critical issues and improve device performance and reproducibility of both SnO2-based and Cd2SnO4-based CdTe cells. Interdiffusion consumes the CdS film from both the ZTO and CdTe sides during the device fabrication process and improves quantum efficiency at short wavelengths. The ZTO film acts as a Zn source to alloy with the CdS film, which results in increases in the band gap of the window layer and in short-circuit current density Jsc. Interdiffusion can also significantly improve device adhesion after CdCl2 treatment, thus providing much greater process latitude when optimizing the CdCl2 process step. The optimum CdCl2-treated CdTe device has high quantum efficiency at long wavelength, because of its good junction properties and well-passivated CdTe film. We have fabricated a Cd2SnO4/Zn2SnO4/CdS/CdTe cell demonstrating an NREL-confirmed total-area efficiency of 15.8% (Voc=844.3 mV, Jsc=25.00 mA/cm2, and fill factor=74.82%). This high-performance cell is one of the best thin-film CdTe solar cells in the world. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.
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