Nano-structured morphological features of pulsed direct current magnetron sputtered Mo films for photovoltaic applications

Sreejith Karthikeyan, Arthur E. Hill, Richard D. Pilkington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Historically, molybdenum thin films have been used as the back contact for Cu(In,Ga)Se2 based solar cells and as such the properties of these layers play an important role in the overall cell structure. This paper describes the production of molybdenum films using pulsed d.c. magnetron sputtering from compressed molybdenum powder targets. The films were deposited at different substrate temperatures under constant power and constant current modes, and analysed using X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and four point resistance probe. Mechanical strain and resistivity were found to decrease with substrate temperature together with a shift in the (110) crystallographic plane towards higher diffraction angles. All films were well adhered to the glass substrates irrespective of their high tensile strain. Surface morphology analysis revealed the presence of nano-structured stress relief patterns which can enhance the nucleation sites for subsequent CuInSe2 deposition. A high-resolution cross sectional image showed the columnar growth of the films. Surface roughness analysis revealed that roughness increased with increase in substrate temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-271
Number of pages6
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 31 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Joule Centre for the funding of this project (Grant No: JSGP408/05 ). Sincere thanks are due to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for the award of a research fellowship to Sreejith Karthikeyan under the ORSAS programme.


  • Back contact layer
  • Molybdenum
  • Nano-structures
  • Powder sputtering
  • Pulsed d.c. magnetron sputtering
  • Stress relief
  • Thin films
  • X-ray diffraction


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