Solvothermal synthesis of Cu2Zn(Sn1-xGex)S4 and Cu2(Sn1-xGex)S3 nanoparticles with tunable band gap energies

Xiaoli PENG, Shu ZHANG*, Yong XIANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The performance of Cu2ZnSnS4 based thin film solar cells can be efficiently improved by proper elemental substitution. This paper describes a facile and cost-efficient solvothermal route to synthesize Cu2(Sn1-xGex)S3 and Cu2Zn(Sn1-xGex)S4 (0 ≤ x ≤ 1) nanoparticles, using elemental sulfur, GeCl4 and other metal salts as the precursors. To avoid the instability of pure CeCl4 toward the moisture and protic solvents, its acetone solution was prepared to use in the synthesis. The resulting Cu2Zn(Sn1-xGex)S4 and Cu2(Sn1-xGex)S3 materials show tunable Ge/Sn ratios through simply adjusting the amount of metal salts in the starting materials, subsequently leading to composition-dependent band gap engineering. The Hall measurement and photoelectrochemical studies reveal that the synthesized Cu2Zn(Sn1-xGex)S4 and Cu2(Sn1-xGex)S3 materials are p-type semiconductor, and the electrical and photoelectrical properties indicate their application potential in thin film solar cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Early online date9 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The authors gratefully acknowledge the National Science Funds of China (Contract Nos. 51102038 and 51472044) and Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (Contract No. NCET-12-0098).


  • Cu(SnGe)S
  • CuZn(SnGe)S
  • Solvothermal synthesis
  • Thin film solar cell
  • Tunable band gap


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