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Evidence for self-healing benign grain boundaries and a highly defective Sb2Se3-CdS interfacial layer in Sb2Se3 thin-film photovoltaics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Published copy (DOI)


  • Rhys Williams
  • Quentin M Ramasse
  • Keith P McKenna
  • Laurie J Phillips
  • Peter Yates
  • Oliver Hutter
  • Ken Durose
  • Jonathan D Major
  • Budhika G Mendis


Publication details

JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
DateAccepted/In press - 21 Apr 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 21 Apr 2020
Number of pages9
Early online date21/04/20
Original languageEnglish


The crystal structure of Sb2Se3 gives rise to unique properties that cannot otherwise be achieved with conventional thin-film photovoltaic materials, such as CdTe or Cu(In,Ga)Se2. It has previously been asserted that, grain boundaries can be made benign provided only the weak van der Waals forces between the (Sb4Se6)n ribbons are disrupted. Here it is shown that non-radiative recombination is suppressed even for grain boundaries cutting across the (Sb4Se6)n ribbons. This is due to a remarkable self-healing process whereby atoms at the grain boundary can relax to remove any electronic defect states within the band gap. Grain boundaries can however impede charge transport due to the fact that carriers have a higher mobility along the (Sb4Se6)n ribbons. Because of the ribbon misorientation certain grain boundaries can effectively block charge collection. Furthermore, it is shown that CdS is not a suitable emitter to partner Sb2Se3 due to Sb and Se inter-diffusion. As a result a highly defective Sb2Se3 interfacial layer is formed that potentially reduces device efficiency through interface recombination.

Bibliographical note

© 2020 American Chemical Society. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

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