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ACS Nano. 2013 Sep 24;7(9):8136-46. doi: 10.1021/nn4034234. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

Solution-processed zinc phosphide (α-Zn3P2) colloidal semiconducting nanocrystals for thin film photovoltaic applications.

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National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), National Research Counci l, 11421 Saskatchewan Drive, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2M9, Canada.


Zinc phosphide (Zn3P2) is a promising earth-abundant material for thin film photovoltaic applications, due to strong optical absorption and near ideal band gap. In this work, crystalline zinc phosphide nanoparticles are synthesized using dimethylzinc and tri-n-octylphosphine as precursors. Transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction data show that these nanoparticles have an average diameter of ∼8 nm and adopt the crystalline structure of tetragonal α-Zn3P2. The optical band gap is found to increase by 0.5 eV relative to bulk Zn3P2, while there is an asymmetric shift in the conduction and valence band levels. Utilizing layer-by-layer deposition of Zn3P2 nanoparticle films, heterojunction devices consisting of ITO/ZnO/Zn3P2/MoO3/Ag are fabricated and tested for photovoltaic performance. The devices are found to exhibit excellent rectification behavior (rectification ratio of 600) and strong photosensitivity (on/off ratio of ∼10(2)). X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy analyses reveal the presence of a thin 1.5 nm phosphorus shell passivating the surface of the Zn3P2 nanoparticles. This shell is believed to form during the nanoparticle synthesis.


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