Experimental and Theoretical Study into Interface Structure and Band Alignment of the Cu2Zn1-x Cd x SnS4 Heterointerface for Photovoltaic Applications.
ABSTRACT: To improve the constraints of kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) solar cell, such as undesirable band alignment at p-n interfaces, bandgap tuning, and fast carrier recombination, cadmium (Cd) is introduced into CZTS nanocrystals forming Cu2Zn1-x Cd x SnS4 through cost-effective solution-based method without postannealing or sulfurization treatments. A synergetic experimental-theoretical approach was employed to characterize and assess the optoelectronic properties of Cu2Zn1-x Cd x SnS4 materials. Tunable direct band gap energy ranging from 1.51 to 1.03 eV with high absorption coefficient was demonstrated for the Cu2Zn1-x Cd x SnS4 nanocrystals with changing Zn/Cd ratio. Such bandgap engineering in Cu2Zn1-x Cd x SnS4 helps in effective carrier separation at interface. Ultrafast spectroscopy reveals a longer lifetime and efficient separation of photoexcited charge carriers in Cu2CdSnS4 (CCTS) nanocrystals compared to that of CZTS. We found that there exists a type-II staggered band alignment at the CZTS (CCTS)/CdS interface, from cyclic voltammetric (CV) measurements, corroborated by first-principles density functional theory (DFT) calculations, predicting smaller conduction band offset (CBO) at the CCTS/CdS interface as compared to the CZTS/CdS interface. These results point toward efficient separation of photoexcited carriers across the p-n junction in the ultrafast time scale and highlight a route to improve device performances.
Project description:We report a phase-pure kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) thin films, synthesized using radio frequency (RF) sputtering followed by low-temperature H2S annealing and confirmed by XRD, Raman spectroscopy and XPS measurements. Subsequently, the band offsets at the interface of the CZTS/CdS heterojunction were systematically investigated by combining experiments and first-principles density functional theory (DFT) calculations, which provide atomic-level insights into the nature of atomic ordering and stability of the CZTS/CdS interface. A staggered type II band alignment between the valence and conduction bands at the CZTS/CdS interface was determined from Cyclic Voltammetry (CV) measurements and the DFT calculations. The conduction and valence band offsets were estimated at 0.10 and 1.21 eV, respectively, from CV measurements and 0.28 and 1.15 from DFT prediction. Based on the small conduction band offset and the predicted higher positions of the VBmax and CBmin for CZTS than CdS, it is suggested photogenerated charge carriers will be efficient separated across the interface, where electrons will flow from CZTS to the CdS and and vice versa for photo-generated valence holes. Our results help to explain the separation of photo-excited charge carriers across the CZTS/CdS interface and it should open new avenues for developing more efficient CZTS-based solar cells.
Project description:Energy band alignment at the heterointerface between CdS and kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) and its alloys plays a crucial role in determining the efficiency of the solar cells. Whereas Ag alloying of CZTS has been shown to reduce anti-site defects in the bulk and thus rise the efficiency, the electronic properties at the interface with the CdS buffer layer have not been extensively investigated. In this work, we present a detailed study on the band alignment between n-CdS and p-CZTS upon Ag alloying by depth-profiling ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Our findings indicate that core-level peaks and the valence band edge of CdS exhibit a significant shift to a lower energy (larger than 0.4 eV) upon the etching of the CdS layer, which can be assigned due to band bending and chemical shift induced by a change in the chemical composition across the interface. Using a simplified model based on charge depletion layer conservation, a significantly larger total charge region depletion width was determined in Ag-alloyed CZTS as compared to its undoped counterpart. Our findings reveal a cliff-like band alignment at both CdS/CZTS and CdS/Ag-CZTS heterointerfaces. However, the conduction-band offset decreases by more than 0.1 eV upon Ag alloying of CZTS. The approach demonstrated here enables nanometer-scale depth profiling of the electronic structure of the p-n junction and can be universally applied to study entirely new platforms of oxide/chalcogenide heterostructures for next-generation optoelectronic devices.
Project description:Structure, composition, and optical properties of colloidal mercaptoacetate-stabilized Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) nanocrystal inks produced by a "green" method directly in aqueous solutions were characterized. A size-selective precipitation procedure using 2-propanol as a non-solvent allows separating a series of fractions of CZTS nanocrystals with an average size (bandgap) varying from 3?nm (1.72?eV) to 2?nm (2.04?eV). The size-selected CZTS nanocrystals revealed also phonon confinement, with the main phonon mode frequency varying by about 4?cm-1 between 2?nm and 3?nm NCs.
Project description:Kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) semiconductor has been demonstrated to be a promising alternative absorber in thin film solar cell in virtue of its earth-abundant, non-toxic element, suitable optical and electrical properties. Herein, a low-cost and non-toxic method that based on the thermal decomposition and reaction of metal-thiourea-oxygen sol-gel complexes to synthesize CZTS thin film was developed. The low-dimensional ZnO@CdS heterojunction nano-arrays coupling with the as-prepared CZTS thin film were employed to fabricate a novel solar cell with inverted structure. The vertically aligned nanowires (NWs) allow facilitating the charge carrier collection/separation/transfer with large interface areas. By optimizing the parameters including the annealing temperature of CZTS absorber, the thickness of CdS buffer layer and the morphology of ZnO NWs, an open-circuit voltage (VOC) as high as 589?mV was obtained by such solar cell with inverted structure. The all-solution-processed technic allows the realization of CZTS solar cell with extremely low cost.
Project description:In this article, synthesis procedures of preparation of copper zinc tin sulpho-selenide (CZTS x Se1-x ) alloy nanocrystals and the data acquired for the material characterization are presented. This data article is related to the research article doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.solmat.2016.06.030 (Jadhav et al., 2016) . FTIR data have been presented which helped in confirmation of adsorption of oleylamine on CZTS x Se1-x . Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) data have been presented which have been used to reveal the morphological details of the nanocrystals. The Energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDAX) based elemental mapping data has been presented to confirm the elemental composition of nanocrystals. Procedure for the preparation of CZTS x Se1-x based working electrode for the CV measurements have been given. The summary table for the optical, electrochemical band gaps, valance and conduction band edges as a function of composition are listed for the ready reference.
Project description:The large bulk bandgap (1.35 eV) and Bohr radius (~10 nm) of InP semiconductor nanocrystals provides bandgap tunability over a wide spectral range, providing superior color tuning compared to that of CdSe quantum dots. In this paper, the dependence of the bandgap, photoluminescence emission, and exciton radiative lifetime of core/shell quantum dot heterostructures has been investigated using colloidal InP core nanocrystals with multiple diameters (1.5, 2.5, and 3.7 nm). The shell thickness and composition dependence of the bandgap for type-I and type-II heterostructures was observed by coating the InP core with ZnS, ZnSe, CdS, or CdSe through one to ten iterations of a successive ion layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR)-based shell deposition. The empirical results are compared to bandgap energy predictions made with effective mass modeling. Photoluminescence emission colors have been successfully tuned throughout the visible and into the near infrared (NIR) wavelength ranges for type-I and type-II heterostructures, respectively. Based on sizing data from transmission electron microscopy (TEM), it is observed that at the same particle diameter, average radiative lifetimes can differ as much as 20-fold across different shell compositions due to the relative positions of valence and conduction bands. In this direct comparison of InP/ZnS, InP/ZnSe, InP/CdS, and InP/CdSe core/shell heterostructures, we clearly delineate the impact of core size, shell composition, and shell thickness on the resulting optical properties. Specifically, Zn-based shells yield type-I structures that are color tuned through core size, while the Cd-based shells yield type-II particles that emit in the NIR regardless of the starting core size if several layers of CdS(e) have been successfully deposited. Particles with thicker CdS(e) shells exhibit longer photoluminescence lifetimes, while little shell-thickness dependence is observed for the Zn-based shells. Taken together, these InP-based heterostructures demonstrate the extent to which we are able to precisely tailor the material properties of core/shell particles using core/shell dimensions and composition as variables.
Project description:Hydrogen generation from water using noble metal-free photocatalysts presents a promising platform for renewable and sustainable energy. Copper-based chalcogenides of earth-abundant elements, especially Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS), have recently arisen as a low-cost and environment-friendly material for photovoltaics and photocatalysis. Herein, we report a new heterostructure consisting of CZTS nanoparticles anchored onto a MoS2-reduced graphene oxide (rGO) hybrid. Using a facile two-step method, CZTS nanoparticles were in situ grown on the surface of MoS2-rGO hybrid, which generated high density of nanoscale interfacial contact between CZTS and MoS2-rGO hybrid. The photoexcited electrons of CZTS can be readily transported to MoS2 through rGO backbone, reducing the electron-hole pair recombination. In photocatalytic hydrogen generation under visible light irradiation, the presence of MoS2-rGO hybrids enhanced the hydrogen production rate of CZTS by 320%, which can be attributed to the synergetic effect of increased charge separation by rGO and more catalytically active sites from MoS2. Furthermore, this CZTS/MoS2-rGO heterostructure showed much higher photocatalytic activity than both Au and Pt nanoparticle-decorated CZTS (Au/CZTS and Pt/CZTS) photocatalysts, indicating the MoS2-rGO hybrid is a better co-catalyst for photocatalytic hydrogen generation than the precious metal. The CZTS/MoS2-rGO system also demonstrated stable photocatalytic activity for a continuous 20?h reaction.
Project description:Carbon dots (CDs) and graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) composites (CD/g-C3N4) were successfully synthesized by a hydrothermal method using urea and sugarcane juice as starting materials. The chemical composition, morphological structure and optical properties of the composites and CDs were characterized using various spectroscopic techniques as well as transmission electron microscopy. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) results revealed new signals for carbonyl and carboxyl groups originating from the CDs in CD/g-C3N4 composites while X-ray diffraction (XRD) results showed distortion of the host matrix after incorporating CDs into g-C3N4. Both analyses signified the interaction between g-C3N4 and CDs. The photoluminescence (PL) analysis indicated that the presence of too many CDs will create trap states at the CD/g-C3N4 interface, decelerating the electron (e-) transport. However, the CD/g-C3N4(0.5) composite with the highest coverage of CDs still achieved the best bisphenol A (BPA) degradation rate at 3.87 times higher than that of g-C3N4. Hence, the charge separation efficiency should not be one of the main factors responsible for the enhancement of the photocatalytic activity of CD/g-C3N4. Instead, the light absorption capability was the dominant factor since the photoreactivity correlated well with the ultraviolet-visible diffuse reflectance spectra (UV-vis DRS) results. Although the CDs did not display upconversion photoluminescence (UCPL) properties, the ?-conjugated CDs served as a photosensitizer (like organic dyes) to sensitize g-C3N4 and injected electrons to the conduction band (CB) of g-C3N4, resulting in the extended absorption spectrum from the visible to the near-infrared (NIR) region. This extended spectral absorption allows for the generation of more electrons for the enhancement of BPA degradation. It was determined that the reactive radical species responsible for the photocatalytic activity were the superoxide anion radical (O2•-) and holes (h+) after performing multiple scavenging tests.
Project description:The hierarchical nanostructured CdS@MoS2 core shell was architectured using template free facile solvothermal technique. More significantly, the typical hexagonal phase of core CdS and shell MoS2 has been obtained. Optical study clearly shows the two steps absorption in the visible region having band gap of 2.4?eV for CdS and 1.77?eV for MoS2. The FESEM of CdS@MoS2 reveals the formation of CdS microsphere (as a core) assemled with 40-50?nm nanoparticles and covered with ultrathin nanosheets of MoS2 (Shell) having size 200-300?nm and the 10-20?nm in thickness. The overall size of the core shell structure is around 8?µm. Intially, there is a formation of CdS microsphre due to high affinity of Cd ions with sulfur and further growth of MoS2 thin sheets on the surface. Considering band gap ideally in visible region, photocatalytic hydrogen evolution using CdS@MoS2 core shell was investigated under natural sunlight. The utmost hydrogen evolution rate achieved for core shell is 416.4 µmole h-1 with apparent quantum yield 35.04%. The photocatalytic activity suggest that an intimate interface contact, extended visible light absorption and effective photo generated charge carrier separation contributed to the photocatalytic enhancement of the CdS@MoS2 core shell. Additional, the enhanced hole trapping process and effective electrons transfer from CdS to MoS2 in CdS@MoS2 core shell heterostructures can significantly contribute for photocatalytic activity. Such core shell heterostructure will also have potential in thin film solar cell and other microelectronic devices.
Project description:Biochar is widely used for the adsorptive removal of Cd from water and soil, but the Cd-enriched biochar produced carries a risk of secondary pollution. In this work, biochar derived from rice straw was used to adsorb Cd from plating wastewater. The Cd-enriched biochar showed a saturated adsorption capacity of about 63.5 mg/g and could be recycled and used in a mesoporous carbon-supported CdS (CdS@C) photocatalyst after pyrolysis carbonization and a hydrothermal reaction. The results demonstrated that the as-prepared CdS@C photocatalyst contained mixed cubic and hexagonal CdS phases, with a considerably lower band gap (2.1 eV) than pure CdS (2.6 eV). CdS@C exhibited an enhanced photocatalytic performance for the degradation of organic dyes under visible light irradiation compared with pure CdS due to its excellent light-harvesting capacity and efficient electron-hole separation. Moreover, the continuous formation of active species (h+, •OH, and O2•-) was responsible for the photodegradation of organic dyes using CdS@C. This work provides new insights for the safe disposal of Cd-enriched wastewater and for improving the economic viability of Cd-contaminated resources by recovering a value-added photocatalyst.