CdTe layers have been grown on CdS layers to produce thin-film photovoltaic devices. Because of the large lattice mismatch of roughly 10%, CdTe and CdS can only be joined at the expense of a high density of misfit dislocations. Additionally, after deposition the CdTe layer contains submicrometer sized,  oriented, columnar grains with a high density of stacking faults and microtwins resulting in a poor electrical performance of the p-n junction. The performance of these cells can be improved by depositing a CdCl2 layer on the CdTe absorber layer and subsequent annealing of the stack in air. This treatment induces interdiffusion of S and Te across the interface, which results in a better lattice match. During this anneal, CdTe is subject to grain growth, recovery and recrystallization. In samples annealed for different durations after different amounts of CdCl2 were applied, grain growth is completed during the first minutes of annealing. Subsequent diffusion of Cl is detected along the CdTe grain boundaries. The presence of Cl enhances the recrystallization of the CdTe layer, starting from the CdTe surface, while recovery of the CdTe layer, mostly by the reduction of microtwins, takes place at the interface. The simultaneous occurrence of recrystallization and recovery leads to a preferred alignment of grain boundaries in CdTe parallel to the interface. Electron beam induced current measurements show the detrimental effect of these grain boundaries on the charge carrier collection efficiency of the cell. Based on these results, a modified growth procedure is proposed.
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