Chemical Bath Deposition, Group II-VI Semiconductors, Solar Cells Materials, in-situ Doping, CdS, CdO, ZnO, SnO2


Chemical bath deposition (CBD) is the analog in liquid phase of the well-known chemical vapor deposition technique in the vapor phase. In CBD, deposition of thin films takes place from aqueous solutions at low temperatures by a chemical reaction between dissolved precursors, with the help of a complexing agent. Among all techniques used to grow Group II-VI semiconductors, CBD has the advantage of being a simple, low temperature, and inexpensive large-area deposition technique. So far, its contribution in thin film solar cells industry has been mainly limited to growing n-type CdS and/or ZnS window layers for CdTe-based and CIGS-based solar cells. In this work we first optimize the CBD process of CdS using nitrilotriacetic acid and hydrazine as complexing agents as an alternative to ammonia. We then study the effect of the cadmium precursor on the optical/electrical properties, as well as crystal structure, morphology, and composition of CBD-CdS films. A better understanding of the CBD process of CdS as a whole has been achieved and high quality CBD-CdS films have been obtained. Next, we investigate in-situ doping of CBD-CdS with group III elements, such as B, Al, In, and Ga. The objective is to show that CBD is capable of not only growing CdS but also of doping it to reduce its resistivity and, as a result, facilitate its use in solar cells as well as other optoelectronic device fabrication. A four orders of magnitude drop of film resistivity has been achieved without a significant change in film bandgap, structure, or morphology. Finally, we test the possibility of using CBD to grow transparent conducting oxide (TCO) films, such as Al-doped ZnO films and cadmium stannate films. First, we study CBD of ZnO and later in-situ doping of ZnO using Al. High quality ZnO thin films have been grown using CBD with the help of four different complexing agents. Post heat treatment in argon ambient helped reduce resistivity of CBD-ZnO undoped films to ~ 10-1 Ω-cm. In-situ doping of such films using Al shows promising results. Such films could be an alternative to indium tin oxide (ITO) layers that are commonly used as TCO layers for solar cells. Another approach is to use CBD to grow CdO and SnO2 thin films, with the goal of obtaining Cd2SnO4 by later annealing of these two layers. Cadmium stannate is another TCO candidate that could replace ITO in the near future. We have succeeded in growing CBD-CdO thin films using three different complexing agents. Undoped CBD-CdO films with a resistivity as low as 1.01 x10-2 Ω-cm and a carrier density as high as 2.59 x 1020 cm-3 have been obtained. SnO2 films have been successfully grown using CBD. Fabrication of Cadmium stannate thin films using CBD is investigated. In summary, our objective to expand the use of CBD beyond just growing CdS and ZnS, and to test the possibility of using it for in-situ doping of group II-VI semiconductors as well as TCO layers fabrication proved to be successful. We believe that this may have a significant impact on solar cells as well as other optoelectronic devices fabrication industry, due to the simplicity and the cost-effectiveness of CBD.


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Graduation Date



Chow, Lee


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

October 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Physics Commons