Accelerated Development of CuSbS2 Thin Film Photovoltaic Device Prototypes

Adam W. Welch, Lauryn L. Baranowski, Pawel Zawadzki, Clay DeHart, Steve Johnston, Stephan Lany, Colin A. Wolden, Andriy Zakutayev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus Citations


Development of alternative thin film photovoltaic technologies is an important research topic because of the potential of low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells to produce terawatt levels of clean power. However, this development of unexplored yet promising absorbers can be hindered by complications that arise during solar cell fabrication. Here, a high-throughput combinatorial method is applied to accelerate development of photovoltaic devices, in this case, using the novel CuSbS2 absorber via a newly developed three-stage self-regulated growth process to control absorber purity and orientation. Photovoltaic performance of the absorber, using the typical substrate CuInxGa1 − xSe2 (CIGS) device architecture, is explored as a function of absorber quality and thickness using a variety of back contacts. This study yields CuSbS2 device prototypes with ~1% conversion efficiency, suggesting that the optimal CuSbS2 device fabrication parameters and contact selection criteria are quite different than for CIGS, despite the similarity of these two absorbers. The CuSbS2 device efficiency is at present limited by low short-circuit current because of bulk recombination related to defects, and a small open-circuit voltage because of a theoretically predicted cliff-type conduction band offset between CuSbS2 and CdS. Overall, these results illustrate both the potential and limits of combinatorial methods to accelerate the development of thin film photovoltaic devices using novel absorbers.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)929-939
Number of pages11
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-64231


  • chalcogenide
  • combinatorial
  • CuSbS2
  • earth abundant
  • sputtering
  • thin film


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