CdTe solar cell back contact preparation usually includes a chemical etching process which helps to obtain a Te-rich p-doped CdTe surface. In this work we compared the influence of two different etching solutions [nitricâ€“phosphoric (NP) and nitricâ€“acetic acid (NA)] on the CdTe surface. Transmission electron microscopy indicated that a Te-rich layer was formed on the surface of polycrystalline CdTe films after the etching process. The layer thickness was 80Â nm and 10Â nm for NP and NA etching solutions, respectively. In addition, the images showed that the influence of the etching solution was preferentially along the grain boundaries. The chemical properties of the etched CdTe surface were studied by using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The nitricâ€“phosphoric acid yielded a relatively thicker Te-rich layer on the CdTe surface. On the other hand, the Jâ€“V properties of the solar cells prepared using nitricâ€“acetic acid showed no rollover behavior, indicating improved back contact. The solar cells prepared with the NA and NP etching processes yielded >10% solar cell efficiency. The CdTe solar cell homogeneity was improved by the NA etching method.
- back contact