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Issue 38, 2017
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Growth of a void-free Cu2SnS3 thin film using a Cu/SnS2 precursor through an intermediate-temperature pre-annealing and sulfurization process

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Abstract

Ternary earth-abundant Cu2SnS3 (CTS) absorbers were synthesized from a Cu/SnS2 stacked precursor by direct annealing in a S atmosphere and by pre-annealing at lower temperature followed by sulfurization. The existing S within the chosen Cu/SnS2 precursor allows avoiding the interface voids commonly generated from a metal precursor. We found that direct annealing of the S-containing precursor at 570 °C in a S atmosphere also generated voids mostly in the middle of the film because a CuS layer is formed on the precursor surface resulting in the discharge of excess S from the SnS2 layer. To eliminate the voids in the CTS film, we developed a two-step annealing process that consists of pre-annealing at 400 °C in N2 and sulfurization at 570 °C in a S atmosphere. The developed process yields a void-free CTS film with a smooth surface and tightly-connected grains. The phase evolution in the CTS films was analyzed by X-ray and Raman spectroscopy, and reaction pathways to form a dense Cu2SnS3 film from the Cu/SnS2 precursor are revealed. Our study demonstrated that appropriate design of annealing could grow a large-grain and dense CTS absorber required for a cost-effective thin film solar cell. Photoluminescence analysis confirmed that the CTS film grown by the two-step annealing process exhibited fewer deep-level defects compared to the film grown by direct annealing in a S atmosphere. The conversion efficiency of the solar cell based on the developed absorber is higher than that of a device using a CTS absorber synthesized by direct sulfurization. However, low values of the open-circuit voltage and fill factor indicate that fine control of the CTS composition is necessary to improve the device performance.

Graphical abstract: Growth of a void-free Cu2SnS3 thin film using a Cu/SnS2 precursor through an intermediate-temperature pre-annealing and sulfurization process

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Jul 2017, accepted on 17 Aug 2017 and first published on 15 Sep 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CE01261F
Citation: CrystEngComm, 2017,19, 5764-5773
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    Growth of a void-free Cu2SnS3 thin film using a Cu/SnS2 precursor through an intermediate-temperature pre-annealing and sulfurization process

    Y. M. Ko, R. B. V. Chalapathy, L. Larina and B. T. Ahn, CrystEngComm, 2017, 19, 5764
    DOI: 10.1039/C7CE01261F

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