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Title: Deposition and characterisation of SnS thin films for application in photovoltaic solar cell devices
Author: Nwofe, Patrick
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2013
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Thin films of SnS have been deposited onto heated glass substrates using the thermal evaporation method and the chemical and physical properties of the layers determined and correlated to the deposition conditions and to post-deposition heat treatments. In particular scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray analysis, X-ray di.ractrometry and Raman studies were used to determine the material properties, transmittance and reflectance spectroscopy to determine the optical constants and 4-probe and van der Pauw measurements to determine the electrical properties. The results indicate that for a wide range of deposition conditions it is possible to produce high quality layers of SnS that are free from pin-holes and cracks, that are made of densely packed grains, and that adhere strongly to the substrate. For substrate temperatures between 280°C to 360°C it is possible to produce single phase SnS layers. The energy bandgap of these layers was in the range 1.3eV to 1.35eV, was direct, and had an optical absorption coefficient α > 105 cm-1 for photons with energies greater than the energy bandgap. The electrical properties indicate that all the layers are p-conductivity type with resistivities in the range 40Ωcm to 100Ωcm. Solar cell devices were fabricated in the superstrate and substrate configurations using n-type cadmium sulphide (CdS) and zinc indium diselenide (ZIS) buffer layers to partner the p-type SnS. The devices were investigated by measuring the I-V characteristics in the dark, to determine the predominant conduction mechanisms, the I-V characteristics under illumination to determine the open-circuit voltage V, the short circuit current density Jsc, the fill factor FF and solar conversion efficiency of the devices, C-V studies to determine the doping profile in the SnS and the built-in voltage at the junction and spectral response measurements to determine the minority carrier diffusion length in the p-SnS. Devices made with CdS as the n-type partner had a high density of interface states (1.36 x 1011 F C-1cm-2) with low photovoltaic parameters and a negative band offset of -0.36 eV obtained (as measured using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy). The best devices made were substrate configuration solar cells in which the back contact on glass was molybdenum and the layer was ZIS. These devices have Voc = 472 mV, Jsc = 16.1 mA/cm2 , FF = 0.38 and a solar conversion efficiency of 2.9%. This is a world record efficiency for SnS-based solar cells at the time of submission of this PhD thesis.
Supervisor: Miles, Robert Sponsor: Northumbria University ; Education Trust Fund ; Nigeria
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H600 Electronic and Electrical Engineering