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First-Principles Study of Cu9S5: A Novel p‑Type Conductive Semiconductor

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journal contribution
posted on 11.10.2017, 00:00 by Zhi Peng, Sibai Li, Mouyi Weng, Mingjian Zhang, Chao Xin, Zheng Du, Jiaxin Zheng, Feng Pan
Cu9S5 (digenite) is a p-type semiconductor with excellent electrical conductivity, high mobility of copper ions, and high work function. When used as the back electrode of CdTe solar cells, a high power conversion efficiency (PCE) is obtained. Density functional theory (DFT) method was used to study the structural and electronic properties of Cu9S5 in this work. From the calculated band structures, we find that the Fermi level of the Cu9S5 slightly crosses the valence band by about 0.08 eV below the valence band maximum (VBM), indicating a high hole concentration and potential high electrical conductivity as a p-type semiconductor. It is also found that the crystal structure of Cu9S5 remained stable with a few Cu atoms diffused away, which introduces a p-type doping effect. Finally, we give a quantitative discussion on why CdTe solar cells with Cu9S5 as the back electrode shows the high PCE.