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Title Development of zinc tin nitride for application as an earth abundant photovoltaic absorber
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Physics
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher Colorado School of Mines
Abstract In recent years, many new potential absorber materials based on earth-abundant and non-toxic elements have been predicted. These materials, often made in thin film form and known to absorb light 10-1000 times more e ciently than crystalline silicon, could lower module cost and enable broader solar deployment. One such material is zinc tin nitride (ZnSnN2), a II-IV-nitride analog of the III-nitride materials, which was identified as a suitable solar absorber due to its direct bandgap, large absorption coefficient, and disorder-driven bandgap tunability. Despite these desirable properties, initial attempts at synthesis resulted in degenerate n-type carrier density. Computational work on the point defect formation energies for this material revealed three donor defects were likely the cause; specifically Sn_Zn antisites, V_N sites, and O_N substitutions. Given this framework, a defect-driven hypothesis was proposed as a starting point for the present work: if each donor defect could be addressed by tuning deposition parameters, n-type degeneracy may be defeated. By using combinatorial co- sputtering to grow compositionally-graded thin film samples, n-type carrier density was reduced by two orders of magnitude compared to state-of-the-art. This reduction in carrier density was observed for zinc-rich samples, which supported the defect-driven hypothesis initially proposed. These results and their implications are the topic of Chapter 2. Further carrier density control in zinc-rich ZTN was achieved via hydrogen incorporation and post-growth annealing. This strategy was hypothesized to operate by passivating acceptor defects to avoid self-compensation, which were then activated by hydrogen drive- out upon annealing. Carrier density was reduced another order of magnitude using this technique, which is presented in Chapter 3. After defeating n-type degeneracy, a deeper understanding of the electronic structure was pursued. Photoluminescence (PL) was used to study electronic structure and recombination pathways in zinc-rich ZTN, and excitonic emission was observed despite its many crystallographic defects. PL results are presented in Chapter 4. Ultimately, this work has advanced the field of ZTN research both technologically and scientifically, by providing strategies for self-doping control and identifying critical defect interactions giving rise to n-type degeneracy and carrier density reduction.
Subjects/Keywords Defect physics; Nitrides; Semiconductors; Material development; Combinatorial; Photovoltaics
Contributors Toberer, Eric (advisor); Tamboli, Adele C. (advisor); Packard, Corinne E. (committee member); Brennecka, Geoffrey (committee member); Zimmerman, Jeramy D. (committee member); Zakutayev, Andriy (committee member)
Language en
Rights Copyright of the original work is retained by the author.
Record ID handle:11124/172032
Repository colo-mines
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2018-10-10
Grantor Colorado School of Mines
Note [] Includes bibliographical references.; [] 2017 Fall;

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