Correlating Molecular Precursor Interactions with Device Performance in Solution-Processed Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 Thin-Film Solar Cells

Raphael Agbenyeke, Alice Sheppard, Jacques Keynon, Nada Benhaddou, Nicole Fleck, Valentina Corsetti, Mohammed A. Alkhalifah, Devendra Tiwari, Jake W. Bowers, David J. Fermin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research efforts aimed at improving the crystal quality of solution-processed Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 (CZTSSe) absorbers have largely employed delicate pre- and postprocessing strategies, such as multistep selenization, heat treatment in mixed chalcogen atmospheres, and multinary extrinsic doping that are often complex and difficult to reproduce. On the other hand, understanding and tuning chemical interactions in precursor inks prior to the thin-film deposition have received significantly less attention. Herein, we show for the first time how the complexation of metallic and chalcogen precursors in solution have a stark influence on the crystallization and optoelectronic quality of CZTSSe absorbers. By varying thiourea to metal cation ratios (TU/M) in dimethylformamide (DMF) and isopropyl alcohol (IPA)-based inks, we observed the formation of nanoscale metal–organic complexes and submicron size aggregates which play a key role in the morphology of the precursor layers obtained by spin-coating and drying steps. We also identify the primary cations in the complexation and assembling processes in solution. The morphology of the precursor film, in turn, has an important effect on grain growth and film absorber structure after the reactive annealing in the presence of Se. Finally, we establish a link between metal complexes in precursor solutions and device performance, with power conversion efficiency increasing from approximately 2 to 8% depending on the TU/M and Cu/(Zn + Sn) ratios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35315-35322
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number27
Early online date27 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2024

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