A Simple Aqueous Precursor Solution Processing of Earth-Abundant Cu2SnS3 Absorbers for Thin-Film Solar Cells

Mahesh P. Suryawanshi, Uma V. Ghorpade, Seung Wook Shin, Sachin A. Pawar, In Young Kim, Chang Woo Hong, Minhao Wu, Pramod S. Patil, Annasaheb V. Moholkar, Jin Hyeok Kim

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51 Scopus citations


A simple and eco-friendly method of solution processing of Cu2SnS3 (CTS) absorbers using an aqueous precursor solution is presented. The precursor solution was prepared by mixing metal salts into a mixture of water and ethanol (5:1) with monoethanolamine as an additive at room temperature. Nearly carbon-free CTS films were formed by multispin coating the precursor solution and heat treating in air followed by rapid thermal annealing in S vapor atmosphere at various temperatures. Exploring the role of the annealing temperature in the phase, composition, and morphological evolution is essential for obtaining highly efficient CTS-based thin film solar cells (TFSCs). Investigations of CTS absorber layers annealed at various temperatures revealed that the annealing temperature plays an important role in further improving device properties and efficiency. A substantial improvement in device efficiency occurred only at the critical annealing temperature, which produces a compact and void-free microstructure with large grains and high crystallinity as a pure-phase absorber layer. Finally, at an annealing temperature of 600 °C, the CTS thin film exhibited structural, compositional, and microstructural isotropy by yielding a reproducible power conversion efficiency of 1.80%. Interestingly, CTS TFSCs exhibited good stability when stored in an air atmosphere without encapsulation at room temperature for 3 months, whereas the performance degraded slightly when subjected to accelerated aging at 80 °C for 100 h under normal laboratory conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11603-11614
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 11 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a Human Resources Development grant (No. 20124010203180) from the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) funded by the Korean Government Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy and was partially supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF-2015R1A2A2A01006856).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • CuSnS (CTS)
  • aqueous precursor solution processing
  • device stability
  • diode analysis
  • thin films solar cells (TFSCs)


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