skip to main content

Title: Synthesis and Optoelectronic Properties of Cu3VSe4 Nanocrystals
The ternary chalcogenide Cu3VSe4 (CVSe) with sulvanite structure has been theoretically predicted to be a promising candidate for photovoltaic applications due to its suitable band-gap for solar absorption and the relatively earth-abundant elements in its composition. To realize the absorber layer via an inexpensive route, printed thin-films could be fabricated from dispersions of nano-sized Cu3VSe4 precursors. Herein, cubic Cu3VSe4 nanocrystals were successfully synthesized via a hot-injection method. Similar with reported Cu3VS4 nanocrystals, Cu3VSe4 nanocrystals with cubic structure exhibit three absorption bands in the UV-Visible range indicative of a potential intermediate bandgap existence. A thin film fabricated by depositing the nanoparticles Cu3VSe4 on FTO coated glass substrate, exhibited a p-type behavior and a photocurrent of ~ 4 μA/cm2 when measured in an electrochemical cell setting. This first demonstration of photocurrent exhibited by a CVSe nanocrystals thin film signifies a promising potential in photovoltaic applications.
Authors:
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1924412
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10181442
Journal Name:
PloS one
Volume:
15
Issue:
5
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
e0232184
ISSN:
1932-6203
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Two-dimensional (2D) ternary materials recently generated interest in optoelectronics and energy-related applications, alongside their binary counterparts. To date, only a few naturally occurring layered 2D ternary materials have been explored. The plethora of benefits owed to reduced dimensionality prompted exploration of expanding non-layered ternary chalcogenides into the 2D realm. This work presents a templating method that uses 2D transition metal dichalcogenides as initiators to be converted into the corresponding ternary chalcogenide upon addition of copper, via a solution-phase synthesis, conducted in high boiling point solvents. The process starts with preparation of VSe2nanosheets, which are next converted into Cu3VSe4sulvanite nanosheetsmore »(NSs) which retain the 2D geometry while presenting an X-ray diffraction pattern identical with the one for the bulk Cu3VSe4. Both the scanning electron microscopy and transmission microscopy electron microscopy show the presence of quasi-2D morphology. Recent studies of the sulfur-containing sulvanite Cu3VS4highlight the presence of an intermediate bandgap, associated with enhanced photovoltaic (PV) performance. The Cu3VSe4nanosheets reported herein exhibit multiple UV–Vis absorption peaks, related to the intermediate bandgaps similar to Cu3VS4and Cu3VSe4nanocrystals. To test the potential of Cu3VSe4NSs as an absorber for solar photovoltaic devices, Cu3VSe4NSs thin-films deposited on FTO were subjected to photoelectrochemical testing, showing p-type behavior and stable photocurrents of up to ~ 0.036 mA/cm2. The photocurrent shows a ninefold increase in comparison to reported performance of Cu3VSe4nanocrystals. This proves that quasi-2D sulvanite nanosheets are amenable to thin-film deposition and could show superior PV performance in comparison to nanocrystal thin-films. The obtained electrical impedance spectroscopy signal of the Cu3VSeNSs-FTO based electrochemical cell fits an equivalent circuit with the circuit elements of solution resistance (Rs), charge-transfer resistance (Rct), double-layer capacitance (Cdl), and Warburg impedance (W). The estimated charge transfer resistance value of 300 Ω cm2obtained from the Nyquist plot provides an insight into the rate of charge transfer on the electrode/electrolyte interface.

    « less
  2. Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) is one of the promising materials for absorber layers of new-generation thin film solar cells. Various synthetic routes of materials preparation and structural characterization have been explored so far. Further tuning of the CZTS properties is realized via partial substitution of the cations. Here we have used an affordable and scalable method of synthesizing colloidal CZTS nanocrystals (NC) in an aqueous solution. Variation of the synthesis parameters, in particular pH of the solution, was employed to improve the crystallinity of the NCs. Furthermore, CZTS NCs with partial substitution of Cu for Ag were also successfully synthesized. Raman spectroscopymore »was employed as a prime tool of structural characterization of the NCs obtained, along with optical absorption spectroscopy and ab initio DFT lattice dynamics calculations. An experimentally observed slight upward shift of the main phonon Raman peak upon increase of the Ag content in (AgxCu1-x)2ZnSnS4 NCs is in agreement with the trend predicted by DFT calculation. No pure Ag2ZnSnS4 NCs could be formed, indicating a critical role of Cu in forming the kesterite structure NCs under given synthesis conditions in an aqueous medium. Keywords: CZTS, nanocrystals, colloidal solution, Raman spectroscopy, phonons, DFT, solar cells.« less
  3. Abstract

    Highly uniform and vertically alignedp-type CuInSe2(CISe) nanotube arrays were fabricated through a unique protocol, incorporating confined electrodeposition on lithographically patterned nanoelectrodes. This protocol can be readily adapted to fabricate nanotube arrays of other photoabsorber and functional materials with precisely controllable design parameters. Ternary CISe nanotube arrays were electrodeposited congruently from a single electrolytic bath and the resulting nanotube arrays were studied through powder X-ray diffraction as well as elemental analysis which revealed compositional purity. Detailed photoelectrochemical (PEC) characterizations in a liquid junction cell were also carried out to investigate the photoconversion efficiency. It was observed that the tubular geometrymore »had a strong influence on the photocurrent response and a 29.9% improvement of the photoconversion efficiency was observed with the nanotube array compared to a thin film geometry fabricated by the same process. More interestingly such enhancement in photoconversion efficiency was obtained when the electrode coverage with the nanotube arrays as photoactive material was only a fraction (~10%) of that for the thin film device. Apart from enhancement in photoconversion efficiency, this versatile technique provides ample opportunities to study novel photovoltaic materials and device design architectures where structural parameters play a key role such as resonant light trapping.

    « less
  4. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells are a promising photovoltaic (PV) technology for producing power in space owing to their high-efficiency (> 22.1 %), potential for specific power, and cost-effective manufacturing processes. In contrast to traditional space PVs, the high-Z (atomic number) CdTe absorbers can be intrinsically robust under extreme space radiation, offering long-term stability. Despite these advantages, the performance assessment of CdTe solar cells under high-energy particle irradiation (e.g., photons, neutrons, charged particles) is limited in the literature, and their stability is not comprehensively studied. In this work, we present the PV response of n-CdS / p-CdTe PVs under acceleratedmore »neutron irradiation. We measure PV properties of the devices at different neutron/photon doses. The equivalent dose deposited in the CdTe samples is simulated with deterministic and Monte Carlo radiation transport methods. Thin-film CdTe solar cells were synthesized on a fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) coated glass substrate (≈ 4 cm × 4 cm). CdS:O (≈ 100 nm) was reactively RF sputtered in an oxygen/argon ambient followed by a close-spaced sublimation deposition of CdTe (≈ 3.5 μm) in an oxygen/helium ambient. The sample was exposed to a 10 min vapor CdCl2 in oxygen/helium ambient at 430˚C. The samples were exposed to a wet CuCl2 solution prior to anneal 200ºC. A gold back-contact was formed on CdTe via thermal evaporation. The final sample contains 16 CdTe devices. For neutron irradiation, we cleaved the CdTe substrate into four samples and exposed two samples to ≈ 90 kW reactor power neutron radiation for 5.5 hours and 8.2 hours, respectively, in our TRIGA (Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics) reactor. We observed a noticeable color change of the glass substrates to brown after the neutron/gamma reactor exposure. Presumably, the injected high-energy neutrons caused the breaking of chemical bonds and the displacement of atoms in the glass substrates, creating point defects and color centers. The I-V characteristics showed noticeable deterioration with over 8 hour radiations. Specifically, the saturation current of the control devices was ≈ 25 nA increasing to 1 μA and 10 μA for the 5.5-hour and 8.2-hour radiated samples, respectively. The turn-on voltage of the control devices (≈ 0.85 V) decreased with the irradiated sample (≈ 0.75 V for 5.5-hour and ≈ 0.5 V for 8.2-hour exposures), implying noticeable radiation damage occurred at the heterojunction. The higher values of the ideality factor for irradiated devices (n > 2.2) compared to that of the control devices (n ≈ 1.3) also support the deterioration of the p-n junction. We observed the notable decrease in shunt resistance (RSH) and the increase in series resistance (Rs) with the neutron dose. It is possible that Cu ions introduced during the CuCl2 treatment may migrate into CdTe grain boundaries (GBs). The presence of Cu ions at GBs can create additional leakage paths for photocarrier transport, deteriorating the overall PV performance. We estimated the radiation dose of CdTe in comparison to Si (conventional PV) using a UUTR model (e.g., MCNP6 2D UTR Reactor simulations). In this model, we simulated Si and CdTe at the center point of the triangular fuel lattice and used an “unperturbed flux” tally in the water. Our simulations yielded a dose rate of 6916 Gy/s of neutrons and 16 Gy/s of photons for CdTe, and 1 Gy/s of neutrons and 21 Gy/s of photons for Si (doses +/- <1%). The large dose rate of neutrons in CdTe is mainly attributed to the large thermal neutron absorption cross-section of 113Cd. Based on this estimation, we calculate that the exposure of our CdTe PVs is equivalent to several million years in LEO (Low-Earth Orbit), or about 10,000 years for Si in LEO. Currently, we are working on a low-dose neutron/photon radiation on CdTe PVs and their light I-Vs and microstructural characterizations to gain better understanding on the degradation of CdTe PVs.« less
  5. Khadka, Dhruba B. (Ed.)
    Organometal halides are promising materials for photovoltaic applications, offering tunable electronic levels, excellent charge transport, and simplicity of thin-film device fabrication. Two-dimensional (2D) perovskites have emerged as promising candidates over three-dimensional (3D) ones due to their interesting optical and electrical properties. However, maximizing the power conversion efficiency is a critical issue to improve the performance of these solar cells. In this work, we studied the photophysics of a two-dimensional (2D) perovskite (CH3NH3)2Pb(SCN)2I2 thin film using steady-state and time-resolved absorption and emission spectroscopy and compared it with the three-dimensional (3D) counterpart CH3NH3PbI3. We observed a higher bandgap and faster charge recombinationmore »in (CH3NH3)2Pb(SCN)2I2 compared to CH3NH3PbI3. This work provides an improved understanding of fundamental photophysical processes in perovskite structures and provides the guideline for the design, synthesis, and fabrication of solar cells.« less