Synthesis of ligand-free CZTS nanoparticles via a facile hot injection route

Naghmehalsadat Mirbagheri, Sara Lena Josefin Engberg, Andrea Crovetto, Søren Bredmose Simonsen, Ole Hansen, Yeng Ming Lam, Jørgen Schou

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Single-phase, ligand-free Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) nanoparticles that can be dispersed in polar solvents are desirable for thin film solar cell fabrication, since water can be used as the solvent for the nanoparticle ink. In this work, ligand-free nanoparticles were synthesized using a simple hot injection method and the precursor concentration in the reaction medium was tuned to control the final product. The as-synthesized nanoparticles were characterized using various techniques, and were found to have a near-stoichiometric composition and a phase-pure kesterite crystal structure. No secondary phases were detected with Raman spectroscopy or scanning transmission electron microscopy energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. Furthermore, high resolution transmission electron microscopy showed large-sized nanoparticles with an average diameter of 23 nm ± 11 nm. This approach avoids all organic materials and toxic solvents that otherwise could hinder grain growth and limit the deposition techniques. In addition the synthesis route presented here results in nanoparticles of a large size compared to other ligand-free CZTS nanoparticles, due to the high boiling point of the solvents selected. Large particle size in CZTS nanoparticle solar cells may lead to a promising device performance. The results obtained demonstrate the suitability of the synthesized nanoparticles for application in low cost thin film solar cells.
Original languageEnglish
Article number185603
Issue number18
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • CZTS
  • Large nanoparticles
  • Ligand-free
  • Synthesis


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