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Earth Abundant Element Cu2Zn(Sn1−xGex)S4 Nanocrystals for Tunable Band Gap Solar Cells: 6.8% Efficient Device Fabrication

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posted on 24.05.2011, 00:00 by Grayson M. Ford, Qijie Guo, Rakesh Agrawal, Hugh W. Hillhouse
Cu2Zn(Sn1−xGex)S4 nanocrystals have been synthesized via batch reaction in oleylamine with no additional surfactants present. The nanocrystals are knife-coated on molybdenum substrates and then selenized to form a dense layer of Cu2Zn(Sn1−xGex)(S,Se)4, which is then used as the photoabsorbing layer in a thin film solar cell. The band gaps of the nanocrystals and the resulting solar cells are demonstrated to be controlled by adjusting the Ge/(Ge+Sn) ratio of the nanocrystal synthesis precursors. Solar cells fabricated from Cu2ZnGeS4 nanocrystal films yielded a power conversion efficiency of 0.51%. However, Cu2Zn(SnxGe1−x)S4 nanocrystals with a Ge/(Ge+Sn) ratio 0.7 yielded devices with an efficiency of 6.8% when synthesized to be Cu-poor and Zn-rich. This result opens the possibility of forming Ge gradients to direct minority carriers away from high recombination interfaces and significantly improve the device efficiency of CZTSSe-based solar cells.