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Cathodoluminescence spectrum imaging analysis of CdTe thin-film bevels
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We conducted 6 K cathodoluminescence
spectrum imaging with a nanoscale electron beam on beveled surfaces of CdTe thin films at the critical stages of standard CdTe solar cell fabrication. We find that the through-thickness CL total intensity profiles are consistent with a reduction in grain-boundary recombination due to the CdCl2 treatment. The color-coded CL maps of the near-band-edge transitions indicate significant variations in the defect recombination activity at the micron and sub-micron scales within grains, from grain to grain, throughout the film depth, and between films with different processing histories. We estimated the grain-interior sulfur-alloying fraction in the interdiffused CdTe/CdS region of the CdCl2-treated films from a sample of 35 grains and found that it is not strongly correlated with CL intensity. A kinetic rate-equation model was used to simulate grain-boundary (GB) and grain-interior CL spectra. Simulations indicate that the large reduction in the exciton band intensity and relatively small decrease in the lower-energy band intensity at CdTe GBs or dislocations can be explained by an enhanced electron-hole non-radiative recombination rate at the deep GB or dislocation defects. Simulations also show that higher GB concentrations of donors and/or acceptors can increase the lower-energy band intensity, while slightly decreasing the exciton band intensity.
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