Magnetrons, Molybdenum, Solar cells, Sputtering (Physics), Thin films


Molybdenum (Mo) thin film back contact layers for thin film CuIn(1-x)GaxSe2 (CIGS) solar cells were deposited onto soda lime glass substrates using a direct current (DC) planar magnetron sputtering deposition technique. Requirements for the Mo thin film as a back contact layer for CIGS solar cells are various. Sheet resistance, contact resistance to the CIGS absorber, optical reflectance, surface morphology, and adhesion to the glass substrate are the most important properties that the Mo thin film back contact layer must satisfy. Experiments were carried out under various combinations of sputtering power and working gas pressure, for it is well known that mechanical, morphological, optical, and electrical property of a sputter-deposited Mo thin film are dependent on these process parameters. Various properties of each Mo film were measured and discussed. Sheet resistances were measured using a four-point probe equipment and minimum value of 0.25 Ω/sq was obtained for the 0.6 µm-thick Mo film. Average surface roughnesses of each Mo film ranged from 15 to 26 Å were measured by Dektak profilometer which was also employed to measure film thicknesses. Resistivities were calculated from the sheet resistance and film thickness of each film. Minimum resistivity of 11.9 µΩ∙cm was obtained with the Mo thin film deposited at 0.1 mTorr and 250 W. A residual stress analysis was conducted with a bending beam technique with very thin glass strips, and maximum tensile stress of 358 MPa was obtained; however, films did not exhibit a compressive stress. Adhesive strengths were examined for all films with a “Scotch-tape” test, and all films showed a good adhesion to the glass substrate. iv Sputter-deposited Mo thin films are commonly employed as a back contact layer for CIGS and CuInSe2 (CIS)-based solar cells; however, there are several difficulties in fabricating a qualified back contact layer. Generally, Mo thin films deposited at higher sputtering power and lower working gas pressure tend to exhibit lower resistivity; however, such films have a poor adhesion to the glass substrate. On the other hand, films deposited at lower power and higher gas pressure tend to have a higher resistivity, whereas the films exhibit an excellent adhesion to the glass substrate. Therefore, it has been a practice to employ multi-layered Mo thin film back contact layers to achieve the properties of good adhesion to the glass substrate and low resistivity simultaneously. However, multi layer processes have a lower throughput and higher fabricating cost, and requires more elaborated equipment compared to single layer processes, which are not desirable from the industrial point of view. As can be seen, above mentioned process parameters and the corresponding Mo thin film properties are at the two extreme ends of the spectrum. Hence experiments were conducted to find out the mechanisms which influence the properties of Mo thin films by changing the two process parameters of working gas pressure and sputtering power individually. The relationships between process parameters and above mentioned properties were studied and explained. It was found that by selecting the process parameters properly, less resistive, appropriatesurfaced, and highly adhesive single layer Mo thin films for CIGS solar cells can be achieved.


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Graduation Date





Dhere, Neelkanth G.


Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering (M.S.M.S.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Materials Science and Engineering








Release Date

October 2015

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science, Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic