Growth and characterization of pyrite thin films for photovoltaic applications

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A series of pyrite thin films were synthesized using a novel sequential evaporation

technique to study the effects of substrate temperature on deposition rate and micro-structure of

the deposited material. Pyrite was

A series of pyrite thin films were synthesized using a novel sequential evaporation

technique to study the effects of substrate temperature on deposition rate and micro-structure of

the deposited material. Pyrite was deposited in a monolayer-by-monolayer fashion using

sequential evaporation of Fe under high vacuum, followed by sulfidation at high S pressures

(typically > 1 mTorr to 1 Torr). Thin films were synthesized using two different growth processes; a

one-step process in which a constant growth temperature is maintained throughout growth, and a

three-step process in which an initial low temperature seed layer is deposited, followed by a high

temperature layer, and then finished with a low temperature capping layer. Analysis methods to

analyze the properties of the films included Glancing Angle X-Ray Diffraction (GAXRD),

Rutherford Back-scattering Spectroscopy (RBS), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM),

Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy (SIMS), 2-point IV measurements, and Hall effect

measurements. Our results show that crystallinity of the pyrite thin film improves and grain size

increases with increasing substrate temperature. The sticking coefficient of Fe was found to

increase with increasing growth temperature, indicating that the Fe incorporation into the growing

film is a thermally activated process.