Quenching Mo optical losses in CIGS solar cells by a point contacted dual-layer dielectric spacer: a 3-D optical study

N Rezaei, O Isabella, Z Vroon, M Zeman.
Optics Express Vol. 26, Issue 2, pp. A39-A53 (2018)

A 3-D optical modelling was calibrated to calculate the light absorption and the total reflection of fabricated CIGS solar cells. Absorption losses at molybdenum (Mo) / CIGS interface were explained in terms of plasmonic waves. To quench these losses, we assumed the insertion of a lossless dielectric spacer between Mo and CIGS, whose optical properties were varied. We show that such a spacer with low refractive index and proper thickness can significantly reduce absorption in Mo in the long wavelength regime and improve the device’s rear reflectance, thus leading to enhanced light absorption in the CIGS layer. Therefore, we optimized a realistic two-layer MgF2 / Al2O3 dielectric spacer to exploit (i) the passivation properties of ultra-thin Al2O3 on the CIGS side for potential high open-circuit voltage and (ii) the low refractive index of MgF2 on the Mo side to reduce its optical losses. Combining our realistic spacer with optically-optimized point contacts increases the implied photocurrent density of a 750 nm-thick CIGS layer by 10% for the wavelengths between 700 and 1150 nm with respect to the reference cell. The elimination of plasmonic resonances in the new structure leads to a higher electric field magnitude at the bottom of CIGS layer and justifies the improved optical performance.