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Ultrasonic spray pyrolysis deposition of cuprous oxide thin films: Microstructure and optical investigations

Abstract : The current search of low-cost and more environmentally friendly photovoltaic technologies and is a driving force for the development of thin-film Cu2O as absorber material. Indeed, by combining its earth abundance and potentially excellent electrical and optical properties, cuprous oxide is one of the highest potential metal oxides for the absorber layer of solar cells. Usually, photovoltaics based on bulk cuprous oxide were produced by forming the Cu2O absorber material from thermal oxidation of copper. However, the thermal oxidation method requires high energy consumption, which limits the development of Cu2O based solar cells at low cost and industrial scale. The ultrasonic spray pyrolysis (USP) technique meets these crucial requirements of low cost and compatibility with large area industrial manufacturing. Nevertheless, the deposition of Cu2O thin films by USP still suffers from the novelty of this elaboration process as their lower properties are detrimental to the performances of photovoltaic devices, mainly due to the high concentration of impurities. Very recently, the feasibility of using new precursor solution protocol was suggested by Plankensteiner et al. (ChemNanoMat 6 4 (2020). pp. 663–671) and consists in the substitution of the glucose oxidizer agent by D-sorbitol or glycerol to improve Cu2O thin film properties as this reactant might decrease carbon related by-products during the pyrolysis reaction and thus impurities in the Cu2O thin films. Beyond the feasibility and in order to investigate the Cu2O thin films obtained by USP using D-sorbitol as a new oxidizer agent and to optimize the material for all-oxide solar cell applications, the present work focus on the detailed study of thin film microstructural and optical properties with respect to elaboration conditions, mainly the concentration, pH and thickness, thanks to a specific design of experiment. The deposited thin films properties, using this new precursor solution, were compared to the standard solution processed Cu2O. Cuprous oxide thin films are thus characterized from transmission measurements to investigate the optical properties and evaluate the defects thanks to Urbach energy and absorption edge comparisons. High resolution confocal Raman mapping was used for phase analysis while the microstructure of thin films is analyzed by scanning electron microscopy. Finally, thanks to the correlation between the optical properties, Raman mapping and scanning electron microscopy, the evolution of the microstructure of the thin films with respect to the deposition conditions is presented and allow to better understand Cu2O thin film properties with the aim of enhancing all-oxide photovoltaic performances.
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Contributor : Sidi Ould Saad Hamady <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 6:33:39 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 11, 2021 - 10:50:34 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-03247125, version 1


Sourav Bose, Christyves Chevallier, Sidi Ould Saad Hamady, Nabila Maloufi, J Guyon, et al.. Ultrasonic spray pyrolysis deposition of cuprous oxide thin films: Microstructure and optical investigations. European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) Spring Meeting, May 2021, Strasbourg, France. ⟨hal-03247125⟩



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