Sol Energ Mater Sol Cells

Nanometre-scale optical property fluctuations in Cu2ZnSnS4 revealed by low temperature cathodoluminescence

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Band tailing is a major contributing factor to the large open circuit voltage (Voc) deficit that is currently limiting Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) photovoltaic devices. It occurs in highly doped, highly compensated semiconductors and gives rise to a non-uniform electronic band structure. Here we report spatially resolved fluctuations in CZTS optical properties using low temperature cathodoluminescence (CL) in a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Principal component analysis reveals three CL peaks whose relative intensity vary across domains ~ 100 nm in size. It is not known whether the non-uniform optical properties are due to changes in composition or due to structural order-disorder at constant composition. Measurement of composition with energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis in an SEM and ordering with Micro-Raman mapping revealed CZTS to be uniform within the spatial resolution (estimated at ~ 0.4 µm and 1.1 µm respectively) and sensitivity of the two techniques. The CL results are consistent with the presence of band tailing in CZTS.