Recycling ZnTe, CdTe, and Other Compound Semiconductors by Ambipolar Electrolysis
Author(s)Osswald, Sebastian; Wei, Weifeng; Ceder, Gerbrand; Bradwell, David Johnathon; Barriga, Salvador Aguilar; Sadoway, Donald Robert; ... Show more Show less
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The electrochemical behavior of ZnTe and CdTe compound semiconductors dissolved in molten ZnCl[subscript 2] and equimolar CdCl[subscript 2]–KCl, respectively, was examined. In these melts dissolved Te is present as the divalent telluride anion, Te[superscript 2–], which was found able to be converted to elemental metal by electrochemical oxidation at the anode. ZnTe–ZnCl[subscript 2] melts were studied at 500 °C by standard electrochemical techniques. On the basis of these results, electrolysis was performed, resulting in the simultaneous extraction of phase-pure liquid Zn at the cathode and phase-pure liquid Te at the anode. This new process, involving the simultaneous deposition of liquid metals at electrodes of opposite polarity, is termed herein as ambipolar electrolysis. A melt consisting of CdTe dissolved in equimolar CdCl[subscript 2]–KCl was processed by ambipolar electrolysis, resulting in the production of liquid Cd at the cathode and liquid Te at the anode. Ambipolar electrolysis could enable new approaches to recycling compound semiconductors and semiconductor devices, such as CdTe solar cells.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Journal of the American Chemical Society
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Bradwell, David J., Sebastian Osswald, Weifeng Wei, Salvador A. Barriga, Gerbrand Ceder, and Donald R. Sadoway. “Recycling ZnTe, CdTe, and Other Compound Semiconductors by Ambipolar Electrolysis.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 133, no. 49 (December 14, 2011): 19971-19975.
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