•Aberration-corrected TEM and EELS reveal structural and elemental profiles across GaAs/Si bond interfaces in wafer-bonded GaInP/GaAs/Si – multi-junction solar cells.
•Fluctuations in elemental concentration in nanometer-thick amorphous interface layers, including the disrubutions of light elements, are measured using EELS.
•The projected widths of the interface layers are determined on the atomic scale from STEM-HAADF measurements.
•The effects of atom and ion beam activation treatment on the bonding interfaces are assessed quantitatively on the nanometer scale.
• The measurements highlight the importance of assessing the influence of interfaces on current-voltage characteristics in multi-junction solar cells .
Aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) investigations have been applied to investigate the structure and composition fluctuations near interfaces in wafer-bonded multi-junction solar cells. Multi-junction solar cells are of particular interest since efficiencies well above 40% have been obtained for concentrator solar cells which are based on III-V compound semiconductors. In this methodologically oriented investigation, we explore the potential of combining aberration-corrected high-angle annular dark-field STEM imaging (HAADF-STEM) with spectroscopic techniques, such as EELS and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDXS), and with high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM), in order to analyze the effects of fast atom beam (FAB) and ion beam bombardment (IB) activation treatments on the structure and composition of bonding interfaces of wafer-bonded solar cells on Si substrates. Investigations using STEM/EELS are able to measure quantitatively and with high precision the widths and the fluctuations in element distributions within amorphous interface layers of nanometer extensions, including those of light elements. Such measurements allow the control of the activation treatments and thus support assessing electrical conductivity phenomena connected with impurity and dopant distributions near interfaces for optimized performance of the solar cells.
Multi-junction solar cell; Wafer bonding; Interfaces; Aberration corrected STEM/EELS
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