Current transient responses to voltage and illumination steps are investigated to elucidate the mechanisms involved in carrier transport in CdS/CdTe cells. For most cells, the response to a dark, forward-bias step after a long dark soak at zero bias is a current growth curve For one such cell, the magnitude of the transient is ≈ 22% of the starting value with half of the growth occurring within ≈ 10 sec, the other half requiring 1000's of seconds. The effect is completely reversible and a mirror-image decay curve at zero bias after dark bias-on equilibration can be measured. Similarly, a complex of growth and decay curves are observed on application of illumination steps with constant bias. Similar transients have been observed by McMahon  and del Cueto et al. . This paper is a survey of these effects in cells from 3 different fabricators.
These transients, with varying magnitudes and directions, were seen in all the cells studied. In general, the better the cell, the smaller the magnitudes of the transients. They range from changes by factors of 10 for pathological cells to subtle fast transients (1-2%) in excellent cells.
Beside the important implications these transients have for accurate measurements of cell efficiency and stability, they provide clues about the carrier transport mechanisms. One of the mechanisms proposed involves the occupation of deep donor traps with small hole cross sections, changing their recombination kinetics. The second hypothesis involves the modulation of the junction barrier profile by changing the charge on deep acceptors and donors by carrier trapping, leading to a change in the effective junction barrier height. A third involves defect mutation such as that of [Cui] donors into [VCd- Cu] acceptor complexes, depending on the position of the quasi-Fermi levels.