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Macroscopic Nonuniformities in Metal Grids Formed by Cracked Film Lithography Result in 19.3% Efficient Solar Cells

Christopher P. Muzzillo, Matthew O. Reese, Lorelle M. Mansfield
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2020 v.12 no.23 pp. 25895-25902
copper, films (materials), nanowires, solar cells, transmittance
Cracked film lithography (CFL) is an emerging method for patterning transparent conductive metal grids. CFL can be vacuum- and Ag-free, and it forms more durable grids than nanowire approaches. In spite of CFL’s promising transmittance/grid sheet resistance/wire spacing tradeoffs, previous solar cell demonstrations have had relatively low performance. This work introduces macroscopic nonuniformities in the grids to improve the short-circuit current density/fill factor tradeoff in small area Cu(In,Ga)Se₂ cells. The performance of optimized baseline grids is matched by CFL grids with microscopic openings and macroscopic patterns, culminating in a 19.3% efficient cell. Simulations show that uniform CFL grids are enhanced by patterning because it leads to better balance among shadowing, grid resistance, and transparent conductive oxide resistance losses. Thin-film module efficiency calculations are performed to highlight the performance gains that metal grids can enable by eliminating the transparent conductive oxide losses and widening monoliths. Adding the patterned CFL grids demonstrated in this work to CIGS modules is predicted to reach 0.7% higher efficiency (absolute) than screen-printed grids.