Pure-sulphide Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) thin film solar cells were prepared by a low-cost, non-toxic and high-throughput method based on the thermal decomposition and reaction of sol–gel precursor solution, followed by a high temperature sulfurization process in sulphur atmosphere, which usually gave rise to the unexpected Cu-poor and Zn-rich phase after sulfurization. In order to remove the formation of detrimental secondary phases, e.g. ZnS, a novel method with hydrochloric acid solution treatment to the CZTS absorber layer surface was employed. By using this method, a competitive power conversion efficiency as high as 4.73% was obtained, which is a factor of 4.8 of that of the control CZTS solar cell without surface treatment. This presents a customized process for CZTS photovoltaic technologies that is more environmentally friendly and considerably less toxic than the widely used KCN etching approach.
Chen, R., Fan, J., Li, H., Liu, C., & Mai, Y. (2018). Efficiency enhancement of Cu2ZnSnS4 solar cells via surface treatment engineering. Royal Society Open Science, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.171163