An important part of the research and development of thin-film solar cells is the characterisation of microstructural and compositional properties of the functional layers. For this purpose, energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) represent techniques which exhibit spatial resolutions on the nanometer scale but can be, at the same time, applied on large areas of several square millimeters. The application of EDS and EBSD is demonstrated on this example of thin-film solar cells with Cu(In,Ga)Se2 absorber layers. While EDS provides elemental distributions even in layers with a nominal thickness of 30-50 nm, EBSD gives not only information of average grain sizes, local orientations and grain boundaries. Moreover, strain distributions within individual grains can be calculated by the evaluation of EBSD patterns recorded on individual grains.
*Please note, this application note refers to X-Max and NordlysNano. Which have since been upgraded to Ultim Max and Symmetry respectively.