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Nano Lett. 2009 Aug;9(8):3060-5. doi: 10.1021/nl901538w.

Sulfide nanocrystal inks for dense Cu(In1-xGa(x))(S1-ySe(y))2 absorber films and their photovoltaic performance.

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School of Chemical Engineering and the Energy Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


Recent developments in the colloidal synthesis of high quality nanocrystals have opened up new routes for the fabrication of low-cost efficient photovoltaic devices. Previously, we demonstrated the utility of CuInSe(2) nanocrystals in the fabrication of CuInSe(2) thin film solar cells. In those devices, sintering the nanocrystal film yields a relatively dense CuInSe(2) film with some void space inclusions. Here, we present a general approach toward eliminating void space in sintered nanocrystal films by utilizing reactions that yield a controlled volume expansion of the film. This is demonstrated by first synthesizing a nanocrystal ink composed of Cu(In(1-x)Ga(x))S(2) (CIGS). After nanocrystal film formation, the nanocrystals are exposed to selenium vapor during which most of the sulfur is replaced by selenium. Full replacement produces a approximately 14.6% volume expansion and reproducibly leads to good dense device-quality CIGSSe absorber films with reduced inclusion of void space. Solar cells made using the CIGSSe absorber films fabricated by this method showed a power conversion efficiency of 4.76% (5.55% based on the active nonshadowed area) under standard AM1.5 illumination.

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