Clean thermal decomposition of tertiary-alkyl metal thiolates to metal sulfides: Environmentally-benign, non-polar inks for solution-processed chalcopyrite solar cells

Jungwoo Heo, Gi Hwan Kim, Jaeki Jeong, Yung Jin Yoon, Jung Hwa Seo, Bright Walker, Jin Young Kim

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10 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report the preparation of Cu2S, In2S3, CuInS2 and Cu(In,Ga)S2 semiconducting films via the spin coating and annealing of soluble tertiary-alkyl thiolate complexes. The thiolate compounds are readily prepared via the reaction of metal bases and tertiary-alkyl thiols. The thiolate complexes are soluble in common organic solvents and can be solution processed by spin coating to yield thin films. Upon thermal annealing in the range of 200-400 °C, the tertiary-alkyl thiolates decompose cleanly to yield volatile dialkyl sulfides and metal sulfide films which are free of organic residue. Analysis of the reaction byproducts strongly suggests that the decomposition proceeds via an SN1 mechanism. The composition of the films can be controlled by adjusting the amount of each metal thiolate used in the precursor solution yielding bandgaps in the range of 1.2 to 3.3 eV. The films form functioning p-n junctions when deposited in contact with CdS films prepared by the same method. Functioning solar cells are observed when such p-n junctions are prepared on transparent conducting substrates and finished by depositing electrodes with appropriate work functions. This method enables the fabrication of metal chalcogenide films on a large scale via a simple and chemically clear process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36608
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 9 Nov 2016

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