Non-vacuum mechanochemical route to the synthesis of Cu2SnS3 nano-ink for solar cell applications

S. A. Vanalakar, G. L. Agawane, S. W. Shin, H. S. Yang, P. S. Patil, J. Y. Kim, J. H. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Cu-based ternary chalcogenides such as Cu2SnS3 (CTS) are attracting increasing interest due to their outstanding opto-electronic properties. Herein, a simple, cost-effective non-vacuum mechanochemical synthetic route for preparing CTS nanocrystals with controlled size and composition is presented. CTS nanocrystalline powders were synthesized by ball milling and subsequent annealing in an H2S atmosphere. These nanocrystal samples were characterized using powder X-ray diffraction (P-XRD), Raman spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible optical spectroscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques. Texture structures with cubic crystallinity were observed from the P-XRD of (1 1 2), (2 0 0) planes of CTS nanopowders. The EDS results confirmed that the synthesized powders had an appropriate chemical purity. According to TEM/FE-SEM observations, a nanostructure CTS was obtained after 36 h of mechanochemical processing followed by annealing. The average particle size of single phase CTS after 48 h of milling was ∼45 nm. Based on obtained data using characterization methods, reaction mechanism steps were proposed to clarify the reactions that occurred during the mechanochemical process. In order to prepare nanocrystal ink, ethanol was used as a solvent, and polyvinylpyrrolidone, which acts as an organic stabilizing agent, was added to the CTS powder to prepare a printable paste.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-321
Number of pages8
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Feb 15 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Acta Materialia Inc.


  • Ball milling
  • CuSnS
  • Mechanochemical route
  • Nano-ink
  • Nanocrystalline powder


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