Photovoltaic Research & Hydrazine: A case study addressing the EHS hazards surrounding a novel approach to depositing an absorber layer using a hydrazine-base precursor.

Gardner-Dimitri, Jennifer; Prabhakar, Aparna
(IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY)

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In the photovoltaic (PV) industry there is a push to develop lower-cost, higher-efficiency solar cells to compete with conventional sources of electricity. One way to lower the cost is eliminate the high-cost vacuum processes currently used to create thin films in polycrystalline solar cell devices. Researchers at IBM TJ Watson Research Center have developed a simple solution-based (vacuum-free) approach for CIGS absorber layer deposition, employing 100% hydrazine as the solvent. Hydrazine is a possible human carcinogen, corrosive, skin permeator, flammable, highly reactive, potentially explosive chemical. This presentation focuses on the environmental, health and safety steps taken to address the hazards associated with handling hydrazine while working with researchers in developing this new process.

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