Project Name: CIGS Technology Advancement via Fundamental Modeling of Defect/Impurity Interactions
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Research Area: Photovoltaics
Location: Seattle, WA
SETO Award Amount: $700,000
Awardee Cost Share: $175,000
Principal Investigator: Scott Dunham

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar cells are thin-film solar cells that could reach efficiencies comparable to traditional silicon solar cells but through different manufacturing processes that could lower costs. This project team will assess how CIGS processing and manufacturing improvements will affect system reliability and performance. The team will explore materials that yield the best device performance for specific production equipment and processing conditions.


This project will use models to understand how processing, impurity concentration, cell configuration, material defects and energy losses due to recombination affect CIGS performance. The team will apply density functional theory calculations to better understand CIGS material defects and impurities combined with nudged elastic band calculations to further study the influence of material composition on system stability. These results will be applied to a Monte Carlo simulation to analyze the impact of these defects and then compared against published experimental results and industry standards to test the validity of the computational model.


The results of this study will provide a better understanding of the physical properties of CIGS materials and their response to various processing and manufacturing conditions. The use of predictive modeling tools will lead to design improvements to increase cell reliability and performance, enabling the advancement of CIGS technology.