Korea Institute of Energy Research

Method for manufacturing CI(G)S-based thin film comprising Cu-Se thin film using Cu-Se two-component nanoparticle flux.

Posted by Korea Institute of Energy ResearchResponsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Korea, Republic of

Summary of the technology

Researchers at the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) have developed an innovative method for manufacturing CI(G)S-based thin-film. This technology specifically relates to a method for manufacturing a CI(G)S-based thin film including a Cu-Se thin film having a dense structure formed by introducing Cu-Se two-component nanoparticles to act as a flux for the thin film in manufacture of a CI(G)S-based thin film through a non-vacuum coating process.

Description of the technology

Researchers at the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) have developed an innovative method for manufacturing CI(G)S-based thin-film. This technology specifically relates to a method for manufacturing a CI(G)S-based thin film including a Cu-Se thin film having a dense structure formed by introducing Cu-Se two-component nanoparticles to act as a flux for the thin film in manufacture of a CI(G)S-based thin film through a non-vacuum coating process.

This advanced technology is particularly valuable in response to the increasing attention being placed on alternative next-generation clean energy sources. As such, greater scientific research is being paid to fossil fuel alternatives, such as solar cells. Solar cells directly converting sunlight into electric energy have various merits such as avoidance of contamination, infinite resource and semi-permanent lifespan, and are thus anticipated as an energy source capable of solving the problem of energy depletion.

Solar cells are classified according to the materials used in light-absorbing layers. Among these solar cells, silicon solar cells are most frequently used. However, the price of silicon solar cells has rapidly increased due to a supply shortage of silicon, and thus thin-film solar cells have attracted considerable attention. A thin-film solar cell is used in a wide range of fields because it requires less raw material consumption and is lightweight. A CIS or CIGS-based thin film semiconductors exhibits the highest conversion efficiency among lab-made thin films. Particularly, since CIS or CIGS-based thin films are characterized in that they can be formed to a thickness of 10 mm or less and are stable even after long-term use. It is predicted that CIS or CIGS solar cells will be used in manufacturing as a low low-priced high-efficiency alternative to commonly used silicon solar cells.

A CIGS solar cell is either manufactured using a thin film, having a thickness of several micrometres, by vacuum deposition or non-vacuum coating. Vacuum deposition has an advantage in that it provides a highly efficient absorption layer. However, vacuum deposition provides low uniformity when a large area absorption layer is formed and requires high manufacturing costs. Since the CIGS thin film formed by depositing a precursor material in a non-vacuum state has lots of pores and exhibits non-dense characteristics, selenization heat treatment is generally performed alongside non-vacuum coating. However, due to selenization heat treatment being performed using toxic hydrogen selenide (H2Se) gas, high installation costs are required to provide a safety system to guarantee safety. Further, since the heat treatment is performed for a long period of time, there is a drawback that manufacturing costs for the CIGS thin film increase.

This sophisticated CI(G)s manufacturing technology provides a method for the manufacture of thin-film which exhibits excellent particle growth and has a dense structure in which voids are minimized, using Cu-Se two component nanoparticles to act as a flux as in a vacuum coating process.

Method for manufacturing CI(G)S-based thin film comprising Cu-Se thin film using Cu-Se two-component nanoparticle flux:

This streamlined method for manufacturing CI(G)S-based thin film comprising Cu-Se thin film using Cu-Se two-component nanoparticle flux is achieved through the completion of several intricate steps. Firstly, Cu-Se two component nanoparticles and In (Indium) nanoparticles are prepared, following which a slurry, including the Cu—Se two-component nanoparticles, is prepared by mixing the Cu—Se two-component nanoparticles, a solvent and a binder. Next, a thin film comprised of multiple layers stacked one above another by alternately coating the slurry including the Cu—Se two-component nanoparticles and the slurry including the In nanoparticles onto a substrate is formed. Finally, a heat treatment process is undergone on the resultant thin film.  The heat treatment may be performed at a substrate temperature ranging from 520° C. to 550° C. for 60 minutes to 90 minutes.

This advanced technologyascertains and employs the role of Cu—Se nanoparticle slurries to improve energy conversion efficiency of a CI(G)S-based thin film solar cell. What’s more, this technology is capable of preparing a thin film having a dense structure by introducing Cu—Se two component nanoparticles into a slurry by a non-vacuum coating process, followed by heat treatment to allow the slurry to act as the flux, thereby allowing sufficient particle growth and filling voids between particles. This exciting CI(G)S thin-film manufacturing method aids in the minimisation of solar cell manufacture costs as well as minimising the time and resource requirements of CI(G)S thin-film production.

Intellectual property status

Granted Patent

Patent number : 9496449

Where : United States

Current development status

Commercially available technologies

Desired business relationship

Technology selling

Patent licensing

Joint ventures

Technology development

New technology applications

Adaptation of technology to other markets

Technology Owner

Korea Institute of Energy Research

Research Institute

Related keywords

  • Energy Technology
  • Renewable Sources of Energy
  • Solar / Thermal Energy Technology
  • Protecting Man and Environment
  • Environment
  • Environmental Engineering / Technology
  • Energy Market
  • Energy Conservation Related

About Korea Institute of Energy Research

Research Institute from Korea, Republic of

Since the founding in 1977, the KIER has had focused on energy technology R&D which is closely related with our living standards and national security while overcoming the challenges we have faced as a resource poor country.

KIER's R&D areas include improving efficiency and securing environment-friendly way in use of limited conventional energy resources such as oil, coal as well as natural gas and exploring new energy sources such as solar, wind and water as well as its commercialization.

The KIER also strives towards technology transfer which can be reflected in successful commercialization of our remarkable R&D outcomes by means of industrialization of excellent intellectual property rights, enlarging its R&D activity in bottleneck technology based on small and medium sized enterprises, and communicating actively with markets through "1 researcher to 1 enterprise" technique guidance.

enlarging its R&D activity in bottleneck technology based on small and medium sized enterprises, and communicating actively with markets through "1 researcher to 1 enterprise" technique guidance.

Energy has had a significant influence not only on living standards in a society, but also upon national competitiveness and security. Therefore, the KIER will do its best in developing energy technology for future generations.

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