Effects of Nanoassembly on the Optoelectronic Properties of CdTe - ZnO Nanocomposite Thin Films for Use in Photovoltaic Devices

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/283601
Title:
Effects of Nanoassembly on the Optoelectronic Properties of CdTe - ZnO Nanocomposite Thin Films for Use in Photovoltaic Devices
Author:
Beal, Russell Joseph
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Quantum-scale semiconductors embedded in an electrically-active matrix have the potential to improve photovoltaic (PV) device power conversion efficiencies by allowing the solar spectral absorption and photocarrier transport properties to be tuned through the control of short and long range structure. In the present work, the effects of phase assembly on quantum confinement effects and carrier transport were investigated in CdTe - ZnO nanocomposite thin films for use as a spectrally sensitized n-type heterojunction element. The nanocomposites were deposited via a dual-source, sequential radio-frequency (RF) sputter technique that offers the unique opportunity for in-situ control of the CdTe phase spatial distribution within the ZnO matrix. The manipulation of the spatial distribution of the CdTe nanophase allowed for variation in the electromagnetic coupling interactions between semiconductor domains and accompanying changes in the effective carrier confinement volume and associated spectral absorption properties. Deposition conditions favoring CdTe connectivity had a red shift in absorption energy onset in comparison to phase assemblies with a more isolated CdTe phase. While manipulating the absorption properties is of significant interest, the electronic behavior of the nanocomposite must also be considered. The continuity of both the matrix and the CdTe influenced the mobility pathways for carriers generated within their respective phases. Photoconductivity of the nanocomposite, dependent upon the combined influences of nanostructure-mediated optical absorption and carrier transport path, increased with an increased semiconductor nanoparticle number density along the applied field direction. Mobility of the carriers in the nanocomposite was further mediated by the interface between the ZnO and CdTe nanophases which acts as a source of carrier scattering centers. These effects were influenced by low temperature annealing of the nanocomposite which served to increase the crystallinity of the phases without modification of the as-deposited phase assembly and associated absorption properties. Integration of the nanocomposite as an n-type heterojunction element into a PV device demonstrated the ability to tune device response based on the spectral absorption of the nanocomposite sensitizer film as dictated by the phase assembly. Overall the various phase assemblies studied provided increased opportunity for optimization of the absorption and carrier transport properties of the nanocomposite thin films.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Photovoltaics; Quantum Dots; Zinc Oxide; Materials Science & Engineering; Nanocomposite
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Materials Science & Engineering
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Potter, Barrett G., Jr.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleEffects of Nanoassembly on the Optoelectronic Properties of CdTe - ZnO Nanocomposite Thin Films for Use in Photovoltaic Devicesen_US
dc.creatorBeal, Russell Josephen_US
dc.contributor.authorBeal, Russell Josephen_US
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractQuantum-scale semiconductors embedded in an electrically-active matrix have the potential to improve photovoltaic (PV) device power conversion efficiencies by allowing the solar spectral absorption and photocarrier transport properties to be tuned through the control of short and long range structure. In the present work, the effects of phase assembly on quantum confinement effects and carrier transport were investigated in CdTe - ZnO nanocomposite thin films for use as a spectrally sensitized n-type heterojunction element. The nanocomposites were deposited via a dual-source, sequential radio-frequency (RF) sputter technique that offers the unique opportunity for in-situ control of the CdTe phase spatial distribution within the ZnO matrix. The manipulation of the spatial distribution of the CdTe nanophase allowed for variation in the electromagnetic coupling interactions between semiconductor domains and accompanying changes in the effective carrier confinement volume and associated spectral absorption properties. Deposition conditions favoring CdTe connectivity had a red shift in absorption energy onset in comparison to phase assemblies with a more isolated CdTe phase. While manipulating the absorption properties is of significant interest, the electronic behavior of the nanocomposite must also be considered. The continuity of both the matrix and the CdTe influenced the mobility pathways for carriers generated within their respective phases. Photoconductivity of the nanocomposite, dependent upon the combined influences of nanostructure-mediated optical absorption and carrier transport path, increased with an increased semiconductor nanoparticle number density along the applied field direction. Mobility of the carriers in the nanocomposite was further mediated by the interface between the ZnO and CdTe nanophases which acts as a source of carrier scattering centers. These effects were influenced by low temperature annealing of the nanocomposite which served to increase the crystallinity of the phases without modification of the as-deposited phase assembly and associated absorption properties. Integration of the nanocomposite as an n-type heterojunction element into a PV device demonstrated the ability to tune device response based on the spectral absorption of the nanocomposite sensitizer film as dictated by the phase assembly. Overall the various phase assemblies studied provided increased opportunity for optimization of the absorption and carrier transport properties of the nanocomposite thin films.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectPhotovoltaicsen_US
dc.subjectQuantum Dotsen_US
dc.subjectZinc Oxideen_US
dc.subjectMaterials Science & Engineeringen_US
dc.subjectNanocompositeen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineMaterials Science & Engineeringen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorPotter, Barrett G., Jr.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLucas, Pierreen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMuralidharan, Krishnaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberPotter, Barrett G., Jr.en_US
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