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photovoltaic CIGS solar cells DIY .. Answered

I have been reading this document lately:
CIS(CIGS) thin films prepared for solar cells by one-step
electrodeposition in alcohol solution

and I have been wondering ever since if such procedure might be handled by a DIYer ,without any lab machine
(as Graetzel cells are made) .
Non toxic materials handled and high efficiency levels would be plus.


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11 years ago


this really sounds like an interesting approach. However, there are at least two obstacles. For the first an anneal in argon atmosphere at 550 centigrade might be not so easy to accomplish without a lab machine.

Secondly, not all the materials are non-toxic. Selenous acid H2SeO3 is considered highly toxic (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selenous_acid and msds.chem.ox.ac.uk/SE/selenous_acid.html).

As a third point: depositing the absorber layer alone is not everything. Still at least a front side contact, preferably also a buffer layer is needed: www.yet2.com/app/insight/techofweek/43972

Thinking of it, copper-indium-sulfide might be easier and safer to handle. If the same chemistry works for this compound - which also works as a solar cell absorber material - you could avoid the use of selenous acid and replace it with sulfurous acid which is frequently used as a food preservative.



Reply 11 years ago

I agree that annealing in argon atmosphere at 550 °C (1022 degrees Fahrenheit) is hard to achieve , maybe it would be  possible to use an hacked microwave oven or a klin( pottery oven ) with an argon feed system.
As for the feed system I guess something on this line ('homemade' sputtering system) might work (Attention: translated from spanish, I need to move mouse cursor over the upper part of the screen to be able to read it , weird bug):
As for the front contact one might use a conductive glass instead:
The copper-indium-sulfide idea qualify for further investigations ..
Last but not least another method for fabricating CIS cell using hydrazine (wonder if this would work for a copper-indium-sulfide cell as well) :


Reply 6 years ago

We use a selenium compound at work to blacken brass name plates. You
need gloves or it will make most people sick. 4% selenius acid for gun
blueing has killed people. Hydrazine is rocket fuel and degrades to
ammonia. We used that at a former job to remove rust from pipes that had
been stored outside too long. Hydrazine is also horribly poisonous and
violently unstable.

Indium is fairly safe to handle.

The compound used here is safe, but the efficiency is low [11%] The
trick is to keep the coating thin.


6 years ago

Hi my name is Srinivasa,

Currently i am doing project on "CIGS solar cells". I am designing it using Solidworks . So what i want to know is the material properties of each layer of the CIGS solar cell. Please help me out. Thank you.


8 years ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CZTS may be another interesting alternative