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Pinhole free thin film CdS deposited by chemical bath using a substrate reactive plasma treatment
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Achieving a pinhole-free CdS layer is necessary to produce high performance thin film CdTe solar cells. Pinholes in the CdS layer can compromise the efficiency of a CdTe solar cell by causing shunts. We have investigated the use of a plasma treatment of a fluorine doped tin oxide coated glass substrate (NSG TEC 15) and its effect on pinhole reduction in thin film CdS layers grown by Chemical Bath Deposition. CdS films, <100 nm thickness, were deposited on both O2/Ar plasma cleaned and conventionally cleaned substrates. We show that the O2/Ar plasma treatment of the TEC 15 substrate reduced the water contact angle from ∼55° to less than 12° indicating a substantial increase in the surface energy. The CdS deposited on the plasma treated TEC 15 was pinhole free, very smooth and homogenous in morphology and composition. Scanning electron microscopy images show that the O2/Ar plasma treatment is effective in increasing film density and grain size. Corresponding spectroscopic ellipsometry measurements show an increase in the refractive index from 2.18 to 2.43 at 550 nm wavelength.
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