Utilizing Site Disorder in the Development of New Energy-Relevant Semiconductors

Rekha R. Schnepf, Jacob J. Cordell, M. Brooks Tellekamp, Celeste L. Melamed, Ann L. Greenaway, Allison Mis, Geoff L. Brennecka, Steven Christensen, Garritt J. Tucker, Eric S. Toberer, Stephan Lany, Adele C. Tamboli, Adele C. Tamboli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus Citations


Controlling site disorder in ternary and multinary compounds enables tuning optical and electronic properties at fixed lattice constants and stoichiometries, moving beyond many of the challenges facing binary alloy systems. Here, we consider possible enhancements to energy-related applications through the integration of disorder-tunable materials in devices such as light-emitting diodes, photonics, photovoltaics, photocatalytic materials, batteries, and thermoelectrics. However, challenges remain in controlling and characterizing disorder. Focusing primarily on II-IV-V2 materials, we identify three metrics for experimentally characterizing cation site disorder. Complementary to these experiments, we discuss simulation methods to understand disordered materials. Nonidealities, such as off-stoichiometry and oxygen incorporation, can occur while synthesizing metastable disordered materials. While nonidealities may seem undesirable, we describe how if harnessed they could provide another knob for tuning disorder and subsequently properties. To illustrate the effects of disorder on device-relevant properties, we provide case examples of disordered materials and their potential in device applications.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2027-2041
Number of pages15
JournalACS Energy Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-76355


  • disorder-tunable materials
  • II-IV-V2 materials
  • multinary compounds
  • non-idealities
  • opto-electronic properties


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