Wide Band Gap Chalcogenide Semiconductors

Rachel Woods-Robinson, Yanbing Han, Hanyu Zhang, Tursun Ablekim, Imran Khan, Kristin A. Persson, Andriy Zakutayev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

271 Scopus Citations


Wide band gap semiconductors are essential for today's electronic devices and energy applications because of their high optical transparency, controllable carrier concentration, and tunable electrical conductivity. The most intensively investigated wide band gap semiconductors are transparent conductive oxides (TCOs), such as tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) and amorphous In-Ga-Zn-O (IGZO), used in displays and solar cells, carbides (e.g., SiC) and nitrides (e.g., GaN) used in power electronics, and emerging halides (e.g., γ-CuI) and 2D electronic materials (e.g., graphene) used in various optoelectronic devices. Compared to these prominent materials families, chalcogen-based (Ch = S, Se, Te) wide band gap semiconductors are less heavily investigated but stand out because of their propensity for p-type doping, high mobilities, high valence band positions (i.e., low ionization potentials), and broad applications in electronic devices such as CdTe solar cells. This manuscript provides a review of wide band gap chalcogenide semiconductors. First, we outline general materials design parameters of high performing transparent semiconductors, as well as the theoretical and experimental underpinnings of the corresponding research methods. We proceed to summarize progress in wide band gap (EG > 2 eV) chalcogenide materials - namely, II-VI MCh binaries, CuMCh2 chalcopyrites, Cu3MCh4 sulvanites, mixed-anion layered CuMCh(O,F), and 2D materials - and discuss computational predictions of potential new candidates in this family, highlighting their optical and electrical properties. We finally review applications - for example, photovoltaic and photoelectrochemical solar cells, transistors, and light emitting diodes - that employ wide band gap chalcogenides as either an active or passive layer. By examining, categorizing, and discussing prospective directions in wide band gap chalcogenides, this Review aims to inspire continued research on this emerging class of transparent semiconductors and thereby enable future innovations for optoelectronic devices.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4007-4055
Number of pages49
JournalChemical Reviews
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-74974


  • chalcogenide materials
  • electrical properties
  • optical properties
  • semiconductors
  • transparent semiconductors
  • wide band gap


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