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Proceedings Paper

Characterization of damp heat degradation of CuInGaSe2 solar cell components and devices by (electrochemical) impedance spectroscopy
Author(s): F. J. John Pern; Rommel Noufi
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Paper Abstract

This work evaluated the capability of (electrochemical) impedance spectroscopy (IS, or ECIS as used here) to monitor damp heat (DH) stability of contact materials, CuInGaSe2 (CIGS) solar cell components, and devices. Cell characteristics and its variation of the CIGS devices were also examined by the ECIS. Bare and encapsulated sample sets were separately prepared and exposed in an environmental chamber at 85°C and 85% relative humidity (RH). The ECIS results from bare samples tested within 50-100 h of DH exposure allowed the determination of the use of a conducting Ag paste and a low-melting-point solder alloy for making a DH-stable external connection with Au wires. Bare Mo and AlNi grid degraded (corroded) rapidly while Ni was DH-stable. The moisture-dampened Al-doped ZnO (AZO) and bilayer ZnO (BZO) likely underwent hydrolytic "capacitor-forming" reaction by DH, resulting in "transient" behavior of very high resistance in ECIS that was not detected by four-point probe. Using an encapsulation test structure that allowed moisture ingress control, DH-induced degradation (resistance increase) rates of BZO on glass decreased from 0.21 ohm/h using a moisture-permeable Tedlar/Polyester/Tedlar (TPT) backsheet to 1.0 x 10-3 ohm/h using a moisture barrier FG-200 film, while Mo on glass did not exhibit the same conducting degradation and corrosion as the bare samples after over 1270 h DH exposure. CIGS solar cells encapsulated with a TPT backsheet degraded irregularly over 774 h DH exposure. Key resistance and capacitance parameters extracted by curve fitting of impedance data clearly showed the variation and impact of DH exposure on cell characteristics. Profound "depression" or shorting of the "p-n junction capacitor" by DH was evident. ECIS results are shown to correlate reasonably well with the solar cells' currentvoltage (I-V) degrading trends. Furthermore, ECIS analysis was capable of differentiating cell degradation due to "junction capacitor" shorting, damage or breakdown from that due to electrical conduction failure on AlNi/BZO layers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 September 2011
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 8112, Reliability of Photovoltaic Cells, Modules, Components, and Systems IV, 81120S (13 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.895918
Show Author Affiliations
F. J. John Pern, National Renewable Energy Lab. (United States)
Rommel Noufi, National Renewable Energy Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8112:
Reliability of Photovoltaic Cells, Modules, Components, and Systems IV
Neelkanth G. Dhere; John H. Wohlgemuth; Kevin W. Lynn, Editor(s)

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