X-ray beam induced current measurements for multi-modal x-ray microscopy of solar cells

Christina Ossig, Tara Nietzold, Bradley West, Mariana Bertoni, Gerald Falkenberg, Christian G. Schroer, Michael E. Stuckelberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


X-ray beam induced current (XBIC) measurements allow mapping of the nanoscale performance of electronic devices such as solar cells. Ideally, XBIC is employed simultaneously with other techniques within a multi-modal X-ray microscopy approach. An example is given herein combining XBIC with X-ray fluorescence to enable point-by-point correlations of the electrical performance with chemical composition. For the highest signal-to-noise ratio in XBIC measurements, lock-in amplification plays a crucial role. By this approach, the X-ray beam is modulated by an optical chopper upstream of the sample. The modulated X-ray beam induced electrical signal is amplified and demodulated to the chopper frequency using a lock-in amplifier. By optimizing low-pass filter settings, modulation frequency, and amplification amplitudes, noise can efficiently be suppressed for the extraction of a clear XBIC signal. A similar setup can be used to measure the X-ray beam induced voltage (XBIV). Beyond standard XBIC/XBIV measurements, XBIC can be measured with bias light or bias voltage applied such that outdoor working conditions of solar cells can be reproduced during in-situ and operando measurements. Ultimately, the multi-modal and multi-dimensional evaluation of electronic devices at the nanoscale enables new insights into the complex dependencies between composition, structure, and performance, which is an important step towards solving the materials' paradigm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere60001
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number150
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • CIGS
  • Engineering
  • Issue 150
  • Lock-in amplification
  • Multi-modal
  • Photovoltaics
  • Solar cell
  • Synchrotron radiation
  • X-ray beam induced current
  • X-ray beam induced voltage
  • X-ray microscopy
  • XBIC
  • XBIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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