Heterojunction Cu2O solar cells are an important class of Earth-abundant photovoltaics that can be synthesized by a variety of techniques, including electrochemical deposition (ECD) and thermal oxidation (TO). The latter gives the most efficient solar cells of up to 8.1% reported in the literature, but is limited by low external quantum efficiencies (EQE) in the long wavelength range (490–600 nm). By contrast, ECD Cu2O gives higher short wavelength EQEs of up to 90%. We elucidate the cause of this difference by characterizing and comparing ECD and TO films using impedance spectroscopy and fitting with a lumped circuit model to determine the trap density, followed by simulations. The data indicates that TO Cu2O has a higher density of interface defects, located approximately 0.5 eV above the valence band maximum (NV), and lower bulk defect density thus explaining the lower short wavelength EQEs and higher long wavelength EQEs. This work shows that a route to further efficiency increases of TO Cu2O is to reduce the density of interface defect states.
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