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Title: Synthesis and characterization of (Sn,Zn)O alloys

SnO exhibits electrical properties that render it promising for solar energy conversion applications, but it also has a strongly indirect band gap. Recent theoretical calculations predict that this disadvantage can be mitigated by isovalent alloying with other group-II oxides such as ZnO. Here, we synthesized new metastable isovalent (Sn,Zn)O alloy thin films by combinatorial reactive co-sputtering and characterized their structural, optical and electrical properties. The alloying of ZnO into SnO leads to a change of the valence state of the tin from Sn 0 via Sn 2+ to Sn 4+, which can be counteracted by reducing the oxygen partial pressure during the deposition. The optical characterization of the smooth <10 at. % Sn 1-xZn xO thin films showed an increase in the absorption coefficient in the range from 1 to 2 eV, which is consistent with the theoretical predictions for the isovalent alloying. However, the experimentally observed alloying effect may be convoluted with the effect of local variations of the Sn oxidation state. As a result, this effect would have to be minimized to improve the (Sn,Zn)O optical and electrical properties for their use as absorbers in solar energy conversion applications.
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  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0897-4756
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Chemistry of Materials
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 28; Journal Issue: 21; Journal ID: ISSN 0897-4756
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (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; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; thin films; characterization; synthesis
OSTI Identifier: