J. Semicond. > Volume 37 > Issue 1 > Article Number: 014002

Cu2O-based solar cells using oxide semiconductors

Tadatsugu Minami , Yuki Nishi and Toshihiro Miyata

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Abstract: We describe significant improvements of the photovoltaic properties that were achieved in Al-doped ZnO (AZO)/n-type oxide semiconductor/p-type Cu2O heterojunction solar cells fabricated using p-type Cu2O sheets prepared by thermally oxidizing Cu sheets. The multicomponent oxide thin film used as the n-type semiconductor layer was prepared with various chemical compositions on non-intentionally heated Cu2O sheets under various deposition conditions using a pulsed laser deposition method. In Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells fabricated using various ternary compounds as the n-type oxide thin-film layer, the best photovoltaic performance was obtained with an n-ZnGa2O4 thin-film layer. In most of the Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells using multicomponent oxides composed of combinations of various binary compounds, the obtained photovoltaic properties changed gradually as the chemical composition was varied. However, with the ZnO-MgO and Ga2O3-Al2O3 systems, higher conversion efficiencies (η) as well as a high open circuit voltage (Voc) were obtained by using a relatively small amount of MgO or Al2O3, e.g., (ZnO)0.91-(MgO)0.09 and (Ga2O3)0.975-(Al2O3)0.025, respectively. When Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells were fabricated using Al2O3-Ga2O3-MgO-ZnO (AGMZO) multicomponent oxide thin films deposited with metal atomic ratios of 10, 60, 10 and 20 at.% for the Al, Ga, Mg and Zn, respectively, a high Voc of 0.98 V and an η of 4.82% were obtained. In addition, an enhanced η and an improved fill factor could be achieved in AZO/n-type multicomponent oxide/p-type Cu2O heterojunction solar cells fabricated using Na-doped Cu2O (Cu2O:Na) sheets that featured a resistivity controlled by optimizing the post-annealing temperature and duration. Consequently, an η of 6.25% and a Voc of 0.84 V were obtained in a MgF2/AZO/n-(Ga2O3-Al2O3)/p-Cu2O:Na heterojunction solar cell fabricated using a Cu2O:Na sheet with a resistivity of approximately 10 Ω·cm and a (Ga0.975Al0.025)2O3 thin film with a thickness of approximately 60 nm. In addition, a Voc of 0.96 V and an η of 5.4% were obtained in a MgF2/AZO/n-AGMZO/p-Cu2O:Na heterojunction solar cell.

Key words: Cu2On-type oxide semiconductorheterojunction solar cellshigh efficiency

Abstract: We describe significant improvements of the photovoltaic properties that were achieved in Al-doped ZnO (AZO)/n-type oxide semiconductor/p-type Cu2O heterojunction solar cells fabricated using p-type Cu2O sheets prepared by thermally oxidizing Cu sheets. The multicomponent oxide thin film used as the n-type semiconductor layer was prepared with various chemical compositions on non-intentionally heated Cu2O sheets under various deposition conditions using a pulsed laser deposition method. In Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells fabricated using various ternary compounds as the n-type oxide thin-film layer, the best photovoltaic performance was obtained with an n-ZnGa2O4 thin-film layer. In most of the Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells using multicomponent oxides composed of combinations of various binary compounds, the obtained photovoltaic properties changed gradually as the chemical composition was varied. However, with the ZnO-MgO and Ga2O3-Al2O3 systems, higher conversion efficiencies (η) as well as a high open circuit voltage (Voc) were obtained by using a relatively small amount of MgO or Al2O3, e.g., (ZnO)0.91-(MgO)0.09 and (Ga2O3)0.975-(Al2O3)0.025, respectively. When Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells were fabricated using Al2O3-Ga2O3-MgO-ZnO (AGMZO) multicomponent oxide thin films deposited with metal atomic ratios of 10, 60, 10 and 20 at.% for the Al, Ga, Mg and Zn, respectively, a high Voc of 0.98 V and an η of 4.82% were obtained. In addition, an enhanced η and an improved fill factor could be achieved in AZO/n-type multicomponent oxide/p-type Cu2O heterojunction solar cells fabricated using Na-doped Cu2O (Cu2O:Na) sheets that featured a resistivity controlled by optimizing the post-annealing temperature and duration. Consequently, an η of 6.25% and a Voc of 0.84 V were obtained in a MgF2/AZO/n-(Ga2O3-Al2O3)/p-Cu2O:Na heterojunction solar cell fabricated using a Cu2O:Na sheet with a resistivity of approximately 10 Ω·cm and a (Ga0.975Al0.025)2O3 thin film with a thickness of approximately 60 nm. In addition, a Voc of 0.96 V and an η of 5.4% were obtained in a MgF2/AZO/n-AGMZO/p-Cu2O:Na heterojunction solar cell.

Key words: Cu2On-type oxide semiconductorheterojunction solar cellshigh efficiency



References:

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[2]

Olsen L C, Addis F W, Miller W. Experimental and theoretical studies of Cu2O solar cells[J]. Solar Cells, 1982, 7: 247.

[3]

Sears W M, Fortin E, Webb J B. Indium tin oxide/Cu2O photovoltaic cells[J]. Thin Solid Films, 1983, 103: 303.

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Iwanowski R J, Trivich D. Enhancement of the photovoltaic conversion efficiency in Cu/Cu2O Schottky barrier solar cells by H+ ion irradiation[J]. Phys Status Solidi A, 1986, 95: 735.

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Rai B P. Cu2O solar cells:a review[J]. Solar Cells, 1988, 25: 265.

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Briskman R N. A study of electrodeposited cuprous oxide photovoltaic cells[J]. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells, 1992, 27: 361.

[7]

Minami T, Miyata T, Nishi Y. Efficiency improvement of Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells fabricated using thermally oxidized copper sheets[J]. Thin Solid Films, 2014, 559: 105.

[8]

Minami T, Nishi Y, Miyata T. High-efficiency oxide solar cells with ZnO/Cu2O heterojunction fabricated on thermally oxidized Cu2O sheets[J]. Appl Phys Express, 2011, 4: 062301.

[9]

Minami T, Nishi Y, Miyata T. High-efficiency Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells fabricated using a Ga2O3 thin film as n-type layer[J]. Appl Phys Express, 2013, 6: 044101.

[10]

Minami T, Nishi Y, Miyata T. Effect of the thin Ga2O3 layer in n+-ZnO/n-Ga2O3/p-Cu2O heterojunction solar cells[J]. Thin Solid Films, 2013, 549: 65.

[11]

Minami T, Miyata T, Nishi Y. Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells with an Al-doped ZnO/oxide semiconductor/thermally oxidized Cu2O sheet structure[J]. Solar Energy, 2014, 105: 206.

[12]

Minami T, Nishi Y, Miyata T. Impact of incorporating sodium into polycrystalline p-type Cu2O for heterojunction solar cell applications[J]. Appl Phys Lett, 2014, 105: 212104.

[13]

Minami T, Nishi Y, Miyata T. Heterojunction solar cell with 6% efficiency based on an n-type aluminum-gallium-oxide thin film and p-type sodium-doped Cu2O sheet[J]. Appl Phys Express, 2015, 8: 022301.

[14]

Lee Y S, Heo J, Siah S C. Ultrathin amorphous zinc-tin-oxide buffer layer for enhancing heterojunction interface quality in metal-oxide solar cells[J]. Energy & Environ Sci, 2013, 6: 2112.

[15]

Lee S W, Lee Y S, Heo J. Improved Cu2O-based solar cells using atomic layer deposition to control the Cu oxidation state at the p-n junction[J]. Adv Energy Mater, 2014, 4: 1301916.

[16]

Lee Y S, Chua D, Brandt R E. Atomic layer deposited gallium oxide buffer layer enables 1.2 V open-circuit voltage in cuprous oxide solar cells[J]. Adv Mater, 2014, 26(4704).

[17]

Hoye R L Z, Brandt R E, Ievskaya Y. Perspective:maintaining surface-phase purity is key to efficient open air fabricated cuprous oxide solar cells[J]. APL Mater, 2015, 3: 020901.

[18]

Ievskaya Y, Hoye R L Z, Sadhanala A. Fabrication of ZnO/Cu2O heterojunctions in atmospheric conditions:improved interface quality and solar cell performance[J]. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells, 2015, 135: 43.

[19]

Minami T, Sonohara H, Takata S. Highly transparent and conductive zinc-stannate thin films prepared by RF magnetron sputtering[J]. Jpn J Appl Phys, 1994, 33.

[20]

Minami T. Transparent and conductive multicomponent oxide films prepared by magnetron sputtering[J]. J Vac Sci Technol A, 1999, 17: 1765.

[21]

Minami T. New n-type transparent conducting oxides[J]. MRS Bulletin, 2000, 25: 38.

[22]

Minami T. Transparent conducting oxide semiconductors for transparent electrodes[J]. Semicond Sci Technol, 2005, 20.

[23]

Nomura K, Ohta H, Takagi A. Room-temperature fabrication of transparent flexible thin-film transistors using amorphous oxide semiconductors[J]. Nature, 2004, 432: 488.

[24]

Hosono H. Recent progress in transparent oxide semiconductors:Materials and device application[J]. Thin Solid Films, 2007, 515: 6000.

[25]

Park J S, Maeng W J, Kim H S. Review of recent developments in amorphous oxide semiconductor thin-film transistor devices[J]. Thin Solid Films, 2012, 520: 1679.

[26]

Minami T. Oxide phosphor thin-film electroluminescent devices[J]. Display and Imaging, 1999, 8: 83.

[27]

Minami T. Oxide thin-film electroluminescent devices and materials[J]. Solid-State Electron, 2003, 47: 2237.

[1]

Olsen L C, Bohara R C, Urie M W. Explanation for low-efficiency Cu2O Schottky-barrier solar cells[J]. Appl Phys Lett, 1979, 34: 47.

[2]

Olsen L C, Addis F W, Miller W. Experimental and theoretical studies of Cu2O solar cells[J]. Solar Cells, 1982, 7: 247.

[3]

Sears W M, Fortin E, Webb J B. Indium tin oxide/Cu2O photovoltaic cells[J]. Thin Solid Films, 1983, 103: 303.

[4]

Iwanowski R J, Trivich D. Enhancement of the photovoltaic conversion efficiency in Cu/Cu2O Schottky barrier solar cells by H+ ion irradiation[J]. Phys Status Solidi A, 1986, 95: 735.

[5]

Rai B P. Cu2O solar cells:a review[J]. Solar Cells, 1988, 25: 265.

[6]

Briskman R N. A study of electrodeposited cuprous oxide photovoltaic cells[J]. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells, 1992, 27: 361.

[7]

Minami T, Miyata T, Nishi Y. Efficiency improvement of Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells fabricated using thermally oxidized copper sheets[J]. Thin Solid Films, 2014, 559: 105.

[8]

Minami T, Nishi Y, Miyata T. High-efficiency oxide solar cells with ZnO/Cu2O heterojunction fabricated on thermally oxidized Cu2O sheets[J]. Appl Phys Express, 2011, 4: 062301.

[9]

Minami T, Nishi Y, Miyata T. High-efficiency Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells fabricated using a Ga2O3 thin film as n-type layer[J]. Appl Phys Express, 2013, 6: 044101.

[10]

Minami T, Nishi Y, Miyata T. Effect of the thin Ga2O3 layer in n+-ZnO/n-Ga2O3/p-Cu2O heterojunction solar cells[J]. Thin Solid Films, 2013, 549: 65.

[11]

Minami T, Miyata T, Nishi Y. Cu2O-based heterojunction solar cells with an Al-doped ZnO/oxide semiconductor/thermally oxidized Cu2O sheet structure[J]. Solar Energy, 2014, 105: 206.

[12]

Minami T, Nishi Y, Miyata T. Impact of incorporating sodium into polycrystalline p-type Cu2O for heterojunction solar cell applications[J]. Appl Phys Lett, 2014, 105: 212104.

[13]

Minami T, Nishi Y, Miyata T. Heterojunction solar cell with 6% efficiency based on an n-type aluminum-gallium-oxide thin film and p-type sodium-doped Cu2O sheet[J]. Appl Phys Express, 2015, 8: 022301.

[14]

Lee Y S, Heo J, Siah S C. Ultrathin amorphous zinc-tin-oxide buffer layer for enhancing heterojunction interface quality in metal-oxide solar cells[J]. Energy & Environ Sci, 2013, 6: 2112.

[15]

Lee S W, Lee Y S, Heo J. Improved Cu2O-based solar cells using atomic layer deposition to control the Cu oxidation state at the p-n junction[J]. Adv Energy Mater, 2014, 4: 1301916.

[16]

Lee Y S, Chua D, Brandt R E. Atomic layer deposited gallium oxide buffer layer enables 1.2 V open-circuit voltage in cuprous oxide solar cells[J]. Adv Mater, 2014, 26(4704).

[17]

Hoye R L Z, Brandt R E, Ievskaya Y. Perspective:maintaining surface-phase purity is key to efficient open air fabricated cuprous oxide solar cells[J]. APL Mater, 2015, 3: 020901.

[18]

Ievskaya Y, Hoye R L Z, Sadhanala A. Fabrication of ZnO/Cu2O heterojunctions in atmospheric conditions:improved interface quality and solar cell performance[J]. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells, 2015, 135: 43.

[19]

Minami T, Sonohara H, Takata S. Highly transparent and conductive zinc-stannate thin films prepared by RF magnetron sputtering[J]. Jpn J Appl Phys, 1994, 33.

[20]

Minami T. Transparent and conductive multicomponent oxide films prepared by magnetron sputtering[J]. J Vac Sci Technol A, 1999, 17: 1765.

[21]

Minami T. New n-type transparent conducting oxides[J]. MRS Bulletin, 2000, 25: 38.

[22]

Minami T. Transparent conducting oxide semiconductors for transparent electrodes[J]. Semicond Sci Technol, 2005, 20.

[23]

Nomura K, Ohta H, Takagi A. Room-temperature fabrication of transparent flexible thin-film transistors using amorphous oxide semiconductors[J]. Nature, 2004, 432: 488.

[24]

Hosono H. Recent progress in transparent oxide semiconductors:Materials and device application[J]. Thin Solid Films, 2007, 515: 6000.

[25]

Park J S, Maeng W J, Kim H S. Review of recent developments in amorphous oxide semiconductor thin-film transistor devices[J]. Thin Solid Films, 2012, 520: 1679.

[26]

Minami T. Oxide phosphor thin-film electroluminescent devices[J]. Display and Imaging, 1999, 8: 83.

[27]

Minami T. Oxide thin-film electroluminescent devices and materials[J]. Solid-State Electron, 2003, 47: 2237.

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T Minami, Y Nishi, T Miyata. Cu2O-based solar cells using oxide semiconductors[J]. J. Semicond., 2016, 37(1): 014002. doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/37/1/014002.

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Manuscript received: 13 October 2015 Manuscript revised: Online: Published: 01 January 2016

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