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Open Access Nano Express

Cu2ZnSnSe4 nanocrystals capped with S2− by ligand exchange: utilizing energy level alignment for efficiently reducing carrier rec ombination

Xia Wang1, Dong-Xing Kou1*, Wen-Hui Zhou1, Zheng-Ji Zhou1, Si-Xin Wu1* and Xuan Cao2

Author Affiliations

1 The Key Laboratory for Special Functional Materials of MOE, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China

2 Institute of Oceanographic Instrumentation, Shandong Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266061, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:262  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-262

Published: 24 May 2014


In this work, we employed a convenient one-step synthesis method for synthesizing Cu2ZnSnSe4 (CZTSe) nanocrystals (NCs) in an excess selenium environment. This excess selenium situation enhanced the reaction of metal acetylacetonates with selenium, resulting in the burst nucleation of NCs at relatively low temperatures. The phase morphology and surface and optoelectronic properties of NCs before and after ligand exchange were discussed in depth. It was found that pure tetragonal-phase structure CZTSe NCs with approximately 1.7-eV bandgap could be synthesized. The removal of large organic molecules on CZTSe NCs after ligand exchange by S2− decreased the resistivity. The bandgap of the films after ligand exchange by 550°C selenization was also decreased due to better crystallinity. For potential application in CZTSe solar cells, we constructed an energy level diagram to explain the mutual effect between the absorption layer and CdS layer. Using cyclic voltammetry (CV) measurement, we found that the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) energy levels of CZTSe films shifted down after ligand exchange. After energy level alignment at the CdS/CZTSe interface, a type I band alignment structure was more conveniently formed after ligand exchange. This structure acted as the barrier against injection electrons from ZnO to the CZTSe layer, and recombination would subsequently be depressed.

One-step synthesis; Ligand exchange; CZTSe NCs; Energy level alignment