First Advisor

Zhiqiang Chen

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Physics and University Honors




Thin films, Oxides, Solar cells




Photovoltaic (PV) solar cells are a promising renewable energy source but the ratio of efficiency over cost of manufacture must be optimized in order to compete with traditional fossil fuel based energy sources. Much attention has been given to CuO-based thin film oxide cells because of low cost, however, their efficiency needs further improvement. In this thesis, we intend to fabricate a multi-band gap gradient Cu/SnOx thin film targeting to enhance solar conversion efficiency. Hereojunctions of gradient Cu/SnOx thin film were fabricated by physical vapor deposition (PVD) and followed by heat-treatment. The microstructures of the junctions were characterized by scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDX). The formation of gradient films was demonstrated at a heat treatment of 300˚C for 15 minutes. Longer heat treatment time leads to form a uniform and saturated CuO-SnOx alloyed thin film. We found saturated composition is correspondent with 10 at. % Cu. Little Sn was diffused into the Cu or CuO layer. This is caused by the high diffusion rate of Cu in SnOx than that of Sn in the Cu/CuO layer.


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