Cadmium telluride (CdTe) films have become the leading alternative to polycrystalline silicon, which is used in photovoltaic (PV) technology, because CdTe offers similar efficiencies, but uses more abundant raw materials. Current CdTe films, however, have significant fabrication costs that result in high effective price per watt of CdTe based photovoltaics.
University of Utah researchers have developed a novel, low-temperature CdTe thin film deposition process to reduce CdTe manufacturing costs. The process is carried out at room temperature, with atmospheric pressure, using a spin coater to alternately deposit cadmium and tellurium onto a substrate. Standard rinse and thermal annealing processes follow deposition to improve crystalline quality. This process streamlines manufacturing of solar modules, maintaining efficiency while decreasing fabrication costs.