The European Physical Journal Applied Physics

Research Article

Phase segregation, Cu migration and junction formation in Cu(In, Ga)Se2

R. Herberholza1, U. Raua1, H. W. Schocka1, T. Haalbooma2, T. Gödeckea2, F. Ernsta2, C. Beilharza3, K. W. Benza3 and D. Cahena4

Institut für Physikalische Elektronik (IPE), Universität Stuttgart, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany

Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung, 70174 Stuttgart, Germany

Kristallographisches Institut, Universität Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany

Weizmann Institute of Science, Dept. of Materials & Interfaces, Rehovot 76100, Israel


A reinvestigation of the phase diagram of the Cu–In–Se system along the quasi-binary cut In2Se3–Cu2Se reveals an existence range of the chalcopyrite α-phase that is much narrower than commonly accepted. The presence of 0.1% of Na or replacement of In by Ga at the at.% level widens the existence range of the α-phase, towards In- and Ga-rich compositions. We also investigate the interplay between phase segregation and junction formation in polycrystalline Cu(In, Ga)Se2 films. Here, we attribute the band bending observed at bare surfaces of the films to a positively charged surface acting as a driving force for the formation of a Cu-poor surface defect layer via Cu-electromigration. The electrical properties of this defect layer are different from those found for the bulk β-phase. We suggest that Cu-depletion is self-limited at the observed In/(In+Cu) surface composition of 0.75 because further Cu-depletion would require a structural transformation. Capacitance measurements reveal two types of junction metastabilities: one resulting from local defect relaxation, invoked to explain a light-induced increase of the open-circuit voltage of Cu(In, Ga)Se2 solar cells, and one due to Cu-electromigration.

(Received August 30 1998)

(Revised January 29 1999)

(Accepted January 29 1999)

(Online publication May 15 1999)


  • 66.30.Qa – Electromigration;
  • 68.35.Fx – Diffusion; interface formation;
  • 73.20.-r – Surface and interface electron states