Defects, such as cracks, porous structure, small grains that easily occur in the fabrication of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film absorbers using non-vacuum process have been the major obstacle to practical application of this technology so far. A gas-pressure assisted sintering process has been developed to achieve dense, crack-free, large-grained CIGS films. The gas-pressure assisted sintering effects on the microstructure, crystalline, and electric properties were investigated by scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and Hall-effect analyzer. A uniform microstructure with a large grain size and small amount of isolated residual pores and good electric properties can be obtained by pre-sintering at 500°C under 6 bar N2 overpressure and then annealing at 500°C for 20 minutes under a selenium atmosphere.
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