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Hydrothermal deposition of antimony selenosulfide thin films enables solar cells with 10% efficiency


Antimony selenosulfide, Sb2(S,Se)3, has attracted attention over the last few years as a light-harvesting material for photovoltaic technology owing to its phase stability, earth abundancy and low toxicity. However, the lack of a suitable material processing approach to obtain Sb2(S,Se)3 films with optimal optoelectronic properties and morphology severely hampers prospects for efficiency improvement. Here we demonstrate a hydrothermal approach to deposit high-quality Sb2(S,Se)3 films. By varying the Se/S ratio and the temperature of the post-deposition annealing, we improve the film morphology, increase the grain size and reduce the number of defects. In particular, we find that increasing the Se/S ratio leads to a favourable orientation of the (Sb4S(e)6)n ribbons (S(e) represents S or Se). By optmizing the hydrothermal deposition parameters and subsequent annealing, we report a Sb2(S,Se)3 cell with a certified 10.0% efficiency. This result highlights the potential of Sb2(S,Se)3 as an emerging photovoltaic material.

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Fig. 1: Synthesis of Sb2(S,Se)3 and structural characterization.
Fig. 2: Crystal growth illustration and morphology characterization.
Fig. 3: Device structure and photovoltaic performance.
Fig. 4: Deep-level defect characterization.
Fig. 5: Carrier transport analyses.

Data availability

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the published article and its Supplementary Information and Source Data files. Source data are provided with this paper.


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This research was mainly supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2019YFA0405600), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1732150) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). X.H., M.A.G. and J.H. acknowledge funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (grant RND011). S.C. acknowledges support from National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant nos 61722402 and 91833302 and Shanghai Academic/Technology Research Leader (19XD1421300). The authors appreciate the technical assistance of and the use of facilities at the Electron Microscope Unit, University of New South Wales. The authors acknowledge the use of facilities and the assistance at the University of Wollongong (UOW) Electron Microscopy Centre.

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Authors and Affiliations



T.C. supervised the project at University of Science and Technology of China while X.H. and M.A.G. supervised the work at University of New South Wales. R.T., X.W., W.L. and T.C. conceived the original concept and designed the experiments. R.T. and X.W. fabricated the devices and conducted the photovoltaic and optical characterization and analysis, while W.L. carried out the DLTS measurement and analysis. J.H. and X.H. conducted the TEM specimen preparation and performed the HAADF characterization and data analysis. Q.W. and G.X. performed the TA characterization and data analysis. C.J. and Y.Y. assisted with the device fabrication and characterization. C.J. conducted the stability measurement of the solar cell. M.H. and S.C. conducted defect simulations and device analysis. R.T. and T.C. co-wrote the manuscript. T.C., X.H., C.Z., J.H., G.X., S.Y. and M.G. revised the manuscript with all authors commenting on the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Changfei Zhu, Xiaojing Hao or Tao Chen.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–19, Notes 1–7, Tables 1–8 and refs. 1–9.

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Source data

Source Data Fig. 1

Compressed folder containing source data for Fig. 1b–d,f,g.

Source Data Fig. 2

Compressed folder containing source data for Fig. 2b–g.

Source Data Fig. 3

Compressed folder containing source data for Fig. 3a–f.

Source Data Fig. 4

O-DLTS source data for Fig. 4.

Source Data Fig. 5

TA source data for Fig. 5.

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Tang, R., Wang, X., Lian, W. et al. Hydrothermal deposition of antimony selenosulfide thin films enables solar cells with 10% efficiency. Nat Energy 5, 587–595 (2020).

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