Scanning Kelvin Probe Microscopy of CdTe Solar Cells Measured Under Different Bias Conditions

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We have investigated different methods for preparing CdTe/CdS cross sections for electrical measurements, including the following: cleaving; using GaAs substrates; and sandwiching the structure between the substrate and a glass slide, and polishing with diamond discs and alumina suspension. The latter method proved to be the most reliable, with a success rate of over 90%.

We investigated cross sections of CdTe/CdS samples with scanning Kelvin probe microscopy (SKPM) using two different methods: applying the alternate bias with a frequency equal to 18.5 kHz, or equal to the frequency of the second cantilever resonance peak. The results showed that using the second resonance frequency produced a smoother signal, allowing the calculation of the electric field inside the device using just the raw SKPM data.

We were able to measure the distribution of the electrical potential inside working devices. Then, by taking the first derivative of the potential, we calculated the electric field and determined the location of the p-n junction.

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Moutinho, H.R., Dhere, R.G., Jiang, CS. et al. Scanning Kelvin Probe Microscopy of CdTe Solar Cells Measured Under Different Bias Conditions. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1165, 828 (2009).

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