Traditional Cu ( InGa ) Se2 (CIGS) solar cells consist of an Mo bottom contact, p-type CIGS absorber layer, n-type CdS buffer layer, and ZnO window layer including a very thin intrinsic ZnO layer topped with an Al-doped ZnO transparent conducting oxide layer that was simulated by an Silvaco technology computer aided design simulator. The thickness of the layers and other parameters were limited to the values reported in the literature. The simulator was examined to affirm its functionality, and a step-by-step method was applied to optimize the baseline structure. The first modification was the substitution of the conventional CdS buffer layer with a nontoxic n-type ZnO buffer layer. The substituted ZnO buffer layer showed an effective band alignment and led to a remarkable improvement in cell performance. The second modification was the inclusion of different antireflective coatings, such as Al2O3, MgO, SnO2, and CdO, to enhance light trapping. Among them, CdO caused the highest efficiency. The optimization process was followed by replacing a very-thin (750 nm) CIGS layer containing three sublayers with dual-graded Ga contents. A trapezoidal gradient profile was tested and showed a significantly increased internal electric field, which assisted in raising the efficiency of the device. The last simulation concluded that the efficiency of a CIGS solar cell was 19.21% and the efficiency related to the baseline structure was enhanced by 36.24%.
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