Development of nanocoral-like Cd(SSe) thin films using an arrested precipitation technique and their application†
Nanocrystalline cadmium sulfoselenide thin films have been synthesized using a self-organized arrested precipitation technique with different deposition times using triethanolamine as a complexing agent. Optical, structural, morphological and photoelectrochemical solar cell properties were investigated as a function of deposition time. A UV-Vis-NIR absorption study suggested a direct allowed transition type and the band gap energy decreased from 2.01 to 1.86 eV with the increase in deposition time. X-ray diffraction studies revealed that the thin films are nanocrystalline by nature with a pure hexagonal crystal structure and a calculated crystallite size of 51–68 nm. Field emission scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that the surface morphology was altered from nanoflakes to assorted nanoflakes–nanospheres and finally to a nanocoral-like morphology. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy showed that the composition of the Cd(SSe) thin films was of good stoichiometry. Electrical conductivity and thermoelectric power measurements confirmed that the deposited films were n-type semiconductors. From J–V measurements, a highest photo-conversion efficiency of 0.57% was achieved. The significant boost in the PEC performance might be due to the improved crystallinity along with lower values of the grain boundary resistance, dislocation density and the microstrain of the Cd(SSe) thin films.