Pyrite is a 0.95 eV bandgap semiconductor which is purported to have great potential in widespread, low–cost photovoltaic cells. A thorough material selection process was used in the design of a pyrite sequential vapor deposition chamber aimed at reducing and possibly eliminating contamination during thin film growth. The design process focused on identifying materials that do not produce volatile components when exposed to high temperatures and high sulfur pressures. Once the materials were identified and design was completed, the ultra–high vacuum growth system was constructed and tested.
Pyrite thin films were deposited using the upgraded sequential vapor deposition chamber by varying the substrate temperature from 250°C to 420°C during deposition, keeping sulfur pressure constant at 1 Torr. Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) results showed that all contaminants in the films were reduced in concentration by orders of magnitude from those grown with the previous system. Characterization techniques of Rutherford Back–scattering Spectrometry (RBS), X–Ray Diffraction (XRD), Raman Spectroscopy, Optical Profilometry and UV/Vis/Near–IR Spectroscopy were performed on the deposited thin films. The results indicate that stoichiometric ratio of S:Fe, structural–quality (epitaxy), optical roughness and percentage of pyrite in the deposited thin films improve with increase in deposition temperature. A Tauc plot of the optical measurements indicates that the pyrite thin films have a bandgap of 0.94 eV.