Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MSChE)


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Rakesh Agrawal

Committee Member 1

Rajamani Gounder

Committee Member 2

Hilkka I Kenttamaa

Committee Member 3

Bryan W Boudouris


A variety of competing semiconductor materials are used to create p-n solar cells. Currently silicon solar cells dominate more than 90% of the solar market. The major competitors to silicon solar cells are inorganic thin-film solar cells, mainly cadmium telluride and copper indium gallium sulfide. These materials evolved from initial devices based off of cadmium sulfide. All of the non-silicon commercial cells still use cadmium sulfide in their production, which is of concern due to the toxicity of cadmium and limits their application, especially in Europe due to the E.U. Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive. If these devices are to remain market competitive, increased cost efficiency and the removal of cadmium are necessary.