Group V Element Doping of CdTe-based Photovoltaics for more Efficient Solar Cells

At a Glance

​Doping CdTe-based solar cells using group V elements (such as phosphorous, arsenic and antimony) is an important step in making more efficiency and durable solar panels. Researchers at Colorado State University have developed an innovative method to overcome the fundamental challenges associated with successfully incorporating and activating these dopants into semiconductor material. These changes in fabrication methods are important to achieve high device efficiency and open-circuit voltage.

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Thin film CdTe based photovoltaics have recently demonstrated the lowest cost of electricity for utility scale energy generation. The technology is recognized to be an important contributor to the global need for sustainable renewable energy. With improvements in fabrication processes, average efficiency of commercial production modules has increased from 13.5% to 16.2% between 2014 and 2016. Device efficiency has been further improved recently by modifying the cell architecture by the introduction of new materials into the buffer layer and into the absorber, without increased manufacturing complexity or cost. The most significant improvement has involved the introduction of Se to form a CdSeTe layer at the interface with an intrinsic but fully transparent buffer layer such as magnesium doped zinc oxide (MZO). These devices have demonstrated a conversion efficiency above 19% with short-circuit current density (JSC) of over 28 mA/cm2. Devices fabricated using a CdTe-only absorber using similar fabrication conditions have also been reported with 18.6% efficiency. This suggests incorporation of Se is an important improvement in device fabrication technology. However, optimization of the CdSeTe/CdTe absorber is required to further optimize the composition of these films and achieve improvement in device efficiency.


  • Simplify manufacturing and reduce cost
  • Process is fast and easily incorporated into current manufacturing processes
  • Enhance efficiency of existing technology by a relative 20-40%
  • Increase life span of solar panels


  • Solar Energy
Last Updated: September 2022

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Walajabad Sampath
Amit Munshi
Adam Danielson
Carey Reich

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