Design of Metastable Tin Titanium Nitride Semiconductor Alloys

Andre Bikowski, Sebastian Siol, Jing Gu, Aaron Holder, John S. Mangum, Brian Gorman, William Tumas, Stephan Lany, Andriy Zakutayev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus Citations


We report on design of optoelectronic properties in previously unreported metastable tin titanium nitride alloys with spinel crystal structure. Theoretical calculations predict that Ti alloying in metastable Sn3N4 compound should improve hole effective mass by up to 1 order of magnitude, while other optical bandgaps remains in the 1-2 eV range up to x ∼ 0.35 Ti composition. Experimental synthesis of these metastable alloys is predicted to be challenging due to high required nitrogen chemical potential (ΔμN ≥ +1.0 eV) but proven to be possible using combinatorial cosputtering from metal targets in the presence of nitrogen plasma. Characterization experiments confirm that thin films of such (Sn1-xTix)3N4 alloys can be synthesized up to x = 0.45 composition, with suitable optical band gaps (1.5-2.0 eV), moderate electron densities (1017 to 1018 cm-3), and improved photogenerated hole transport (by 5×). Overall, this study shows that it is possible to design the metastable nitride materials with properties suitable for potential use in solar energy conversion applications.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)6511-6517
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number15
StatePublished - 8 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-66841


  • metastability
  • optoelectronics
  • semiconductor alloys


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