Fabrication and Characterization of CZTS Thin Films Prepared by the Sulfurization of RF-Sputtered Stacked Metal Precursors

Mohamed Abusnina, Helio Moutinho, Mowafak Al-Jassim, Clay Dehart, Mohammed Matin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus Citations


In this work, Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) thin films were prepared by the sulfurization of metal precursors deposited sequentially via radio frequency magnetron sputtering on Mo-coated soda-lime glass. The stack order of the precursors was Mo/Zn/Sn/Cu. Sputtered precursors were annealed in sulfur atmosphere with nine different conditions to study the impact of sulfurization time and substrate temperature on the structural, morphological, and optical properties of the final CZTS films. X-ray fluorescence was used to determine the elemental composition ratio of the metal precursors. Final CZTS films were characterized by x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). XRD and EDS were combined to investigate the films' structure and to identify the presence of secondary phases. XRD analysis indicated an improvement in film crystallinity with an increase of the substrate temperature and annealing times. Also indicated was the minimization and/or elimination of secondary phases when the films experienced longer annealing time. EDS revealed slight Sn loss in films sulfurized at 550°C; however, an increase of the sulfurization temperature to 600°C did not confirm these results. SEM study showed that films treated with higher temperatures exhibited dense morphology, indicating the completion of the sulfurization process. The estimated absorption coefficient was on the order of 104 cm-1 for all CZTS films, and the values obtained for the optical bandgap energy of the films were between 1.33 eV and 1.52 eV.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3145-3154
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2014

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-60990


  • CZTS
  • stacked metal precursor
  • sulfurization
  • Thin films


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