Revealing the electronic structure, heterojunction band offset and alignment of Cu2ZnGeSe4: a combined experimental and computational study towards photovoltaic applications†
Cu2ZnGeSe4 (CZGSe) is a promising earth-abundant and non-toxic semiconductor material for large-scale thin-film solar cell applications. Herein, we have employed a joint computational and experimental approach to characterize and assess the structural, optoelectronic, and heterojunction band offset and alignment properties of a CZGSe solar absorber. The CZGSe films were successfully prepared using DC-sputtering and e-beam evaporation systems and confirmed by XRD and Raman spectroscopy analyses. The CZGSe films exhibit a bandgap of 1.35 eV, as estimated from electrochemical cyclic voltammetry (CV) measurements and validated by first-principles density functional theory (DFT) calculations, which predicts a bandgap of 1.38 eV. A fabricated device based on the CZGSe as a light absorber and CdS as a buffer layer yields power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 4.4% with VOC of 0.69 V, FF of 37.15, and Jsc of 17.12 mA cm−2. Therefore, we suggest that interface and band offset engineering represent promising approaches to improve the performance of CZGSe devices by predicting a type-II staggered band alignment with a small conduction band offset of 0.18 eV at the CZGSe/CdS interface.