Teymur, B.; Levcenco, S.; Hempel, H.; Bergmann, E.; Márquez, J.A.; Choubrac, L.; Hill, I.G.; Unold, T.; Mitzi, D.B.: Optoelectronic and material properties of solution-processed Earth-abundant Cu2BaSn(S, Se)4 films for solar cell applications. Nano Energy 80 (2021), p. 105556/1-13

Copper barium thioselenostannate, Cu2BaSnS4-xSex (CBTSSe), absorbers employ low-toxicity and abundant metals while offering low-cost manufacturing options, controllable stoichiometry and band gap tunability (from 2 eV at x = 0 to 1.55 eV at x = 3). CBTSSe can therefore be considered a prospective candidate for maintaining or improving upon the advantages of already commercialized Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 (CIGSSe) and CdTe absorbers. In this study, we focus on solution-deposited stoichiometric CBTSSe films with band gap of 1.59 eV (x ≈ 3) and explore the fundamental film properties. Temperature- and excitation-dependent photoluminescence studies reveal a dominant defect emission at ~1.5 eV and a second deep defect feature at 1.15 eV. From time-resolved terahertz measurements, we find a charge carrier (electron and hole sum) mobility of ~140 cm2/Vs—i.e., comparable to values in CIGSSe or Cu2ZnSnS4-xSex (CZTSSe)—as well as a two-component minority carrier lifetime. A longer-lived lifetime component (~2 ns) arises from bulk recombination. However, strong recombination at the (bare) surface leads to a ~50 ps lifetime, inferior to state-of-the-art CIGSSe or CZTSSe absorbers. This recombination issue may worsen for CBTSSe/CdS interfaces, due to a cliff-like band alignment with 0.6 eV band offset, as revealed by ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy. A low number of charge carriers within the absorber further contributes to a high series resistance. Employing these films, we also report the highest performance achieved from solution-processed trigonal CBTSSe thin-film photovoltaic devices, with open circuit voltage, short-circuit current density, fill factor and efficiency of 470 mV, 14.3 mA/cm2, 43.6% and 2.9%, respectively. The physical measurements provided on the stoichiometric solution-processed CBTSSe absorber further point to critical areas for future improvement of CBTSSe and related photovoltaic cells in the quest for higher efficiency devices based on earth abundant metals.