Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Nanoscale Science and Engineering


Nanoscale Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (xx, 142 pages) : color illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Pradeep Haldar

Committee Members

Sandra Schujman, Alain Diebold, Unnikrishnan Sadasivan Pillai, Harry Efstathiadis


CIGS, Cost Analysis, Ellipsometry, Process control, Reflectometry, Solar cells, Photovoltaic cells, Optical measurements, Dimensional analysis, Nanostructured materials

Subject Categories

Economics | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology


Solar energy is a promising source of renewable energy which can meet the demand for clean energy in near future with advances in research in the field of photovoltaics and cost reduction by commercialization. Availability of a non-contact, in-line, real time robust process control strategies can greatly aid in reducing the gap between cell and module efficiencies, thereby leading to cost-effective large-scale manufacturing of high efficiency CIGS solar cells. In order to achieve proper process monitoring and control for the deposition of the functional layers of CuIn1-xGaxSe2 (CIGS) based thin film solar cell, optical techniques such as spectroscopic reflectometry and polarimetry are advantageous because they can be set up in an unobtrusive manner in the manufacturing line, and collect data in-line and in-situ. The use of these techniques requires accurate optical models that correctly represent the properties of the layers being deposited. In this study, Spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) has been applied for the characterization of each individual stage of CIGS layers deposited using the 3-stage co-evaporation process along with the other functional layers. Dielectric functions have been determined for the energy range from 0.7 eV to 5.1 eV. Critical-point line-shape analysis was used in this study to determine the critical point energies of the CIGS based layers. To control the compositional and thickness uniformity of all the functional layers during the fabrication of CIGS solar cells over large areas, multilayer photovoltaics (PV) stack optical models were developed with the help of extracted dielectric functions. In this study, mapping capability of RC2 spectroscopic ellipsometer was used to map all the functional layer thicknesses of a CIGS solar cell in order to probe the spatial non-uniformities that can affect the performance of a cell. The optical functions for each of the stages of CIGS 3-stage deposition process along with buffer layer and transparent conducting oxide (TCO) bi-layer, thus derived were used in a fiber optic-based spectroscopic reflectometry optical monitoring system installed in the pilot line at the PVMC’s Halfmoon facility. Results obtained from this study show that the use of regular fiber optics, instead of polarization-maintaining fiber optics, is sufficient for the purpose of process monitoring. Also, the technique does not need to be used “in-situ”, but the measurements can be taken in-line, and are applicable to a variety of deposition techniques used for different functional layers deposited on rigid or flexible substrates.