Sputtered metal oxide broken gap junctions for tandem solar cells

Forrest Johnson, Sang Ho Song, Joel Abrahamson, Richard Liptak, Eray Aydil, Stephen A. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Broken gap metal oxide tunnel junctions have been created for the first time by sputtering. Using a ceramic ZnO-SnO2 target and a reactively sputtered copper target we deposited ZnSnO3 and Cu2O for the n-type and p-type layers, respectively. The band edges and work functions of these materials are suitable for favorable alignment with the bands of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) for a tandem CIGS-based solar cell applications. Total junction specific resistivities under 1 Ω-cm2 have been achieved with Ohmic current-voltage (I-V) characteristics pointing to a broken gap band alignment. Low temperature I-V measurements confirmed the lack of traps at the interface despite other measurements pointing to an interface where bands overlap. Cu2O films contained copper inclusions, but they were shown, by conductive atomic force microscopy, not to be the dominant paths for conduction across the junction. Post-deposition annealing of junctions demonstrated thermal stability up to 300 °C, and the ability to improve conduction and influence device material's electron affinity by rapid thermal anneal (RTA). Optical transmission over 78% below a band gap of 2.4 eV was attained for as-deposited films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-522
Number of pages8
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
StatePublished - Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge funding from a Department of Energy SunShot grant ( #DEEE0005319 ). The authors wish to acknowledge Wolfgang Körner (Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM) and Christian Elsässer (Institute for Applied Materials, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) for the ZnSnO 3 density of states data that they provided. This work was conducted in Nanofabrication Center (NFC), University of Minnesota, an NSF-supported NNIN facility ( ECCS-0335765 ). Part of this work was carried out in the University of Minnesota Characterization Facility, a member of the NSF-funded Materials Research Facilities Network via the MRSEC program.


  • Heterojunction
  • Solar energy
  • Sputtering
  • Transparent conducting oxide
  • Tunneling

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