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Article RSE 16081337

Growth of Cu2MnSnS4 PV absorbers by sulfurization of evaporated precursors

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Journal of Alloys and Compounds , vol. 693, pp. 95-102, Settembre-2016.

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S Binetti (Università Bicocca Milano), M Acciarri (Università Bicocca Milano), M. Merlini (Università di Milano), S. Marchionna (RSE SpA) , A. Le Donne (Università Bicocca Milano), F. Cernuschi (RSE SpA)

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The main parameters for the growth of Cu2MnSnS4 (CMTS) thin film via a two-step process has been studied and optimized. This chalcogenide shows optimal chemical and physical properties to be used in thin film solar cell in order to push the PV on TW scale.

Earth abundant Cu2MnSnS4 (CMTS) absorbers for thin film solar cells were grown for the first time by a two-step vacuum approach. Metal precursors deposited on Mo-coated soda lime glass by thermal evaporation were annealed in sulfur vapors. Two series of CMTS samples were prepared to evaluate the effect of both the precursor stack (thickness and order of the metal layers) and the annealing procedure on the thin film quality. Several techniques, including Scanning Electron Microscopy, Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy, Raman, X-ray Diffraction and Photoluminescence were used to test the CMTS layers and to study any possible secondary phase.

Large grain size, high absorption coefficient and direct band suitable for PV applications have been obtained for Cu-poor/Mn-rich samples grown by sulfurization at 500°C < T < 585°C with an initial step at 115°C to enhance the alloy formation. Encouraging but improvable performance were obtained (efficiency 0.33%, open-circuit voltage 226 mV, short-circuit current density 4 mA/cm2, fill factor 36.3%), confirming the potential of CMTS as absorber layer for low-cost solar cells.

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