Significance of atmospheric pollutants on long-term stability of PV materials & devices: case study of Al2O3-encapsulated Al:ZnO thin films
Shan-Ting Zhang a b, Alina Maltseva c, Gunilla Herting d, Jean-François Guillemoles a b, Nathanaelle Schneider a b, Thibaud Hildebrandt e, Inger Odnevall Wallinder d, Polina Volovitch c
a Institut Photovoltaïque d'Ile de France, UMR IPVF 9006, CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique
b Institut Polytechnique de Paris, PSL Chimie ParisTech, IPVF SAS, 91120 PALAISEAU, France
c Chimie ParisTech, PSL University, CNRS, Institut de Recherche de Chimie Paris (IRCP)
d KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Division of Surface and Corrosion Science, Department of Chemistry
Online School
Proceedings of Online School on Fundamentals of Emerging Solar Cells (PVSCHOOL)
Online, Spain, 2021 February 10th - 12th
Organizers: Bruno Ehrler, Thomas Kirchartz and Elizabeth von Hauff
Poster, Shan-Ting Zhang, 010
Publication date: 29th January 2021

Currently in the photovoltaic (PV) field, humidity or H2O is considered the main factor threatening the long-term stability of PV materials and devices during realistic outdoor operation, However, it is an apparent fact that in addition to H2O, there exist various chemical species in the outdoor environment, including atmospheric pollutants such as Cl-, NH4+, SO42- etc. One impactful and well-known outcome induced by these atmospheric pollutants is the chemical corrosion of industrial metals (steel, copper, zinc, aluminum etc.). In this work, we show a case study of how the atmospheric pollutants affect the stability of Al2O3-encapsulated Al:ZnO (AZO, being one of the most common transparent conductive oxides used in thin film solar cells). Inspired by the know-hows in atmospheric corrosion, a novel methodlogy is proposed to introduce the atmosphric pollutants. We observe that despite a thin Al2O3 is proved to be sufficent in protecting AZO thin films against damp heat test (85°C and 85% relative humidity for 1000h) as defiend by IEC standards, it does not suffice to protect AZO when additional atmospheric pollutants are introduced.

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