Copper-Zinc-Tin-Sulfide Thin Films via Annealing of Ultrasonic Spray Deposited Nanocrystal Coatings

Bryce A. Williams, Nancy D. Trejo, Albert Wu, Collin S. Holgate, Lorraine F. Francis, Eray S. Aydil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Thin polycrystalline films of the solar absorber copper-zinc-tin-sulfide (CZTS) were formed by annealing coatings deposited on molybdenum-coated soda lime glass via ultrasonic spraying of aerosol droplets from colloidal CZTS nanocrystal dispersions. Production of uniform continuous nanocrystal coatings with ultrasonic spraying requires that the evaporation time is longer than the aerosol flight time from the spray nozzle to the substrate such that the aerosol droplets still have low enough viscosity to smooth the impact craters that form on the coating surface. In this work, evaporation was slowed by adding a high boiling point cosolvent, cyclohexanone, to toluene as the dispersing liquid. We analyzed, quantitatively, the effects of the solvent composition on the aerosol and coating drying dynamics using an aerosol evaporation model. Annealing coatings in sulfur vapor converts them into polycrystalline films with micrometer size grains, but the grains form continuous films only when Na is present during annealing to enhance grain growth. Continuous films are easier to form when the average nanocrystal size is 15 nm: using larger nanocrystals (e.g., 20 nm) sacrifices film continuity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18865-18871
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jun 7 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported primarily by the National Science Foundation through the University of Minnesota MRSEC under Award DMR-1420013. Part of this work was carried out in the College of Science and Engineering Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which has received capital equipment funding from the NSF through the UMN MRSEC program under Award DMR-1420013.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • copper-zinc-tin-sulfide
  • grain growth
  • nanocrystal
  • thin-film solar cell
  • ultrasonic spray coating

How much support was provided by MRSEC?

  • Primary

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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