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Title: Enabling Earth-Abundant Pyrite (FeS2) Semiconductor Nanostructures for High Performance Photovoltaic Devices

This project seeks to develop nanostructures of iron pyrite, an earth-abundant semiconductor, to enable their applications in high-performance photovoltaic (PV) devices. Growth of high purity iron pyrite nanostructures (nanowires, nanorods, and nanoplates), as well as iron pyrite thin films and single crystals, has been developed and their structures characterized. These structures have been fundamentally investigated to understand the origin of the low solar energy conversion efficiency of iron pyrite and various passivation strategies and doping approaches have been explored in order to improve it. By taking advantage of the high surface-to-bulk ratio in nanostructures and effective electrolyte gating, we fully characterized both the surface inversion and bulk electrical transport properties for the first time through electrolyte-gated Hall measurements of pyrite nanoplate devices and show that pyrite is n-type in the bulk and p-type near the surface due to strong inversion, which has important consequences to using nanocrystalline pyrite for efficient solar energy conversion. Furthermore, through a comprehensive investigation on n-type iron pyrite single crystals, we found the ionization of high-density bulk deep donor states, likely resulting from bulk sulfur vacancies, creates a non-constant charge distribution and a very narrow surface space charge region that limits the total barrier height, thusmore » satisfactorily explains the limited photovoltage and poor photoconversion efficiency of iron pyrite single crystals. These findings suggest new ideas on how to improve single crystal pyrite and nanocrystalline or polycrystalline pyrite films to enable them for high performance solar applications.« less
  1. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY solar energy; solar materials