The Department of Chemistry, School of Arts and Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri campus, organized an invited talk on CdTe Photovoltaics for Sustainable Electricity Generation by Prof. W. S. Sampath, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado University, on August 22, 2016. Professor Sampath’s research includes CdTe PV cell research using inline continuous fabrication; thin-film printed circuit boards and electrical interconnections. Dr. Sampath has authored two books and more than two international research publications.
The talk was attended by the research scholars, undergraduate and postgraduate students of the chemistry department.
Thin-film CdTe (cadmium telluride) is an important technology in the development of sustainable and affordable electricity generation. More than 10 GW of installations have been carried out using this technology around the globe. It has been demonstrated as a sustainable, green, renewable, affordable and abundant source of electricity. An advanced sublimation tool has been developed that allows highly controlled deposition of CdTe films onto commercial soda lime glass substrates. All deposition and treatment steps can be performed without breaking the vacuum within a single chamber in an inline process that can be conveniently scaled to a commercial process. In addition, an advanced cosublimation source has been developed to allow the deposition of ternary alloys such as CdxMg1−xTe to form an electron reflector layer which is expected to address the voltage deficits in current CdTe devices and to achieve very high efficiency. Extensive materials characterization, including but not limited to scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, high resolution transmission electron microscopy and electron back-scatter diffraction, has been performed to get a better understanding of the effects of processing conditions on CdTe thin film photovoltaics. This combined with computer modeling such as density function theory modeling gives a new insight into the mechanism of CdTe photovoltaic function. With all these efforts, CdTe photovoltaics has seen great progress in the last few years. Currently, it has been recorded as the cheapest source of electricity in the USA on a commercial scale, and further improvements are predicted to further reduce the cost while increasing its utilization. Here, we give an overview of the advantages of thin film CdTe photovoltaics as well as a brief review of the challenges that need to be addressed. Some fundamental studies of processing conditions for thin film CdTe are also presented along with fabrication conditions using the closed-space Biotechnological Applications.