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Band Diagram and Effects of the KSCN Treatment in TiO2/Sb2S3/CuSCN ETA Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 14.01.2016, 00:00 by Yafit Itzhaik, Tatyana Bendikov, Douglas Hines, Prashant V. Kamat, Hagai Cohen, Gary Hodes
Thiocyanate ion treatment, usually either LiSCN or KSCN, of the absorbing semiconductor before deposition of a CuSCN hole conducting layer is known to improve the performance of extremely thin absorber (ETA) solar cells by reducing the cell resistivity. However, in spite of several hypotheses, the mechanism behind this treatment outcome remains elusive. In this study, the interface between Sb2S3 and CuSCN in an ETA cell is investigated with surface spectroscopy and transient absorption spectroscopy to establish the mechanistic aspects of the KSCN treatment and the role it plays in improving the photovoltaic performance. The prominent factors that dictate the cell performance are (a) doping the interfacial CuSCN and thus preventing the formation of a sub-μm depleted layer and (b) passivating charge traps at the Sb2S­(O)3 surface, which increases the rate of hole transfer from the absorber to the hole conductor. We further show that the treatment works just as well in improving photovoltaic performance when carried out after CuSCN deposition (post-treatment).