Thermally evaporated thin films of SnS for application in solar cell devices

Robert Miles, Ogah E. Ogah, Guillaume Zoppi, Ian Forbes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


SnS (tin sulphide) is of interest for use as an absorber layer and the wider energy bandgap phases e.g. SnS2, Sn2S3 and Sn/S/O alloys of interest as Cd-free buffer layers for use in thin film solar cells. In this work thin films of tin sulphide have been thermally evaporated onto glass and SnO2:coated glass substrates with the aim of optimising the properties of the material for use in photovoltaic solar cell device structures. In particular the effects of source temperature, substrate temperature, deposition rate and film thickness on the chemical and physical properties of the layers were investigated. Energy dispersive X-ray analysis was used to determine the film composition, X-ray diffraction to determine the phases present and structure of each phase, transmittance and reflectance versus wavelength measurements to determine the energy bandgap and scanning electron microscopy to observe the surface topology and topography and the properties correlated to the deposition parameters. Using the optimised conditions it is possible to produce thin films of tin sulphide that are pinhole free, conformal to the substrate and that consist of densely packed columnar grains. The composition, phases present and the optical properties of the layers deposited were found to be highly sensitive to the deposition conditions. Energy bandgaps in the range 1.55 eV–1.7 eV were obtained for a film thickness of 0.8 μm, and increasing the film thickness to > 1 μm resulted in a reduction of the energy bandgap to less than 1.55 eV. The applicability of using these films in photovoltaic solar cell device structures is also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4702-4705
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number17,1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


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