Candidate photoferroic absorber materials for thin-film solar cells from naturally occurring minerals: enargite, stephanite, and bournonite†
To build on the success of other mineral systems employed in solar cells, including kesterites (Cu2ZnSnS4) and herzenbergite (SnS), as well as mineral-inspired systems such as lead halide perovskites (CH3NH3PbI3), we have searched for photoactive minerals with the additional constraint that a polar crystal structure is adopted. Macroscopic electric fields provide a driving force to separate electrons and holes in semiconductor devices, while spontaneous lattice polarisation in polar semiconductors can facilitate microscopic photo-carrier separation to enhance carrier stability and lifetimes. We identify enargite (Cu3AsS4), stephanite (Ag5SbS4), and bournonite (CuPbSbS3) as candidate materials and explore their chemical bonding and physical properties using a first-principles quantum mechanical approach.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2017 Sustainable Energy and Fuels HOT Articles