R. Balasundaraprabhu


2 Studies on Radio Frequency Sputtered Copper Zinc Tin Sulphide Absorber Layers for Thin Film Solar Cells

Authors: G. Balaji, R. Balasundaraprabhu, S. Prasanna, M. D. Kannan, K. Sivakumaran, David Mcilroy


Copper Zin tin sulphide (Cu2ZnSnS4 or CZTS) is found to be better alternative to Copper Indium gallium diselenide as absorber layers in thin film based solar cells due to the utilisation of earth-abundant materials in the midst of lower toxicity. In the present study, Cu2ZnSnS4 thin films were prepared on soda lime glass using (CuS, ZnS, SnS) targets and were deposited by three different stacking orders, using RF Magnetron sputtering. The substrate temperature was fixed at 300 °C during the depositions. CZTS thin films were characterized using X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and UV-Vis-NIR spectroscopy. All the samples exhibited X-ray peaks pertaining to (112) kesterite phase of CZTS, along with the presence of a predominant wurtzite CZTS phase. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy revealed the presence of all the elements in all the samples. The change in stacking order clearly shows that it affects the structural and phase properties of the films. Relative atomic concentrations of Zn, Cu, Sn and S, which are determined by high-resolution XPS core level spectra integrated peak areas revealed that the CZTS films exhibit inhomogeneity in both stoichiometry and elemental composition. Raman spectroscopy studies on the film showed the presence of CZTS phase. The energy band gap of the CZTS thin films was found to be in the range of 1.5 eV to 1.6 eV. The films were then annealed at 450 °C for 5 hrs and it was found that the predominant nature of the X-ray peaks has transformed from Wurtzite to Kesterite phase which is highly desirable for absorber layers in thin film solar cells. The optimized CZTS layer was used as an absorber layer in thin film solar cells. ZnS and CdS were used as buffer layers which in turn prepared by Hot wall epitaxy technique. Gallium doped Zinc oxide was used as a transparent conducting oxide. The solar cell structure Glass/Mo/CZTS/CdS or ZnS/GZO has been fabricated, and solar cell parameters were measured.

Keywords: Thin Film Solar Cells, RF sputtering, earth-abundant, Kesterite

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1 Effect of Solvents in the Extraction and Stability of Anthocyanin from the Petals of Caesalpinia pulcherrima for Natural Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell

Authors: N. Prabavathy, R. Balasundaraprabhu, S. Shalini, Dhayalan Velauthapillai, S. Prasanna, N. Muthukumarasamy


Dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC) has become a significant research area due to their fundamental and scientific importance in the area of energy conversion. Synthetic dyes as sensitizer in DSSC are efficient and durable but they are costlier, toxic and have the tendency to degrade. Natural sensitizers contain plant pigments such as anthocyanin, carotenoid, flavonoid, and chlorophyll which promote light absorption as well as injection of charges to the conduction band of TiO2 through the sensitizer. But, the efficiency of natural dyes is not up to the mark mainly due to instability of the pigment such as anthocyanin. The stability issues in vitro are mainly due to the effect of solvents on extraction of anthocyanins and their respective pH. Taking this factor into consideration, in the present work, the anthocyanins were extracted from the flower Caesalpinia pulcherrima (C. pulcherrimma) with various solvents and their respective stability and pH values are discussed. The usage of citric acid as solvent to extract anthocyanin has shown good stability than other solvents. It also helps in enhancing the sensitization properties of anthocyanins with Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanorods. The IPCE spectra show higher photovoltaic performance for dye sensitized TiO2nanorods using citric acid as solvent. The natural DSSC using citric acid as solvent shows a higher efficiency compared to other solvents. Hence citric acid performs to be a safe solvent for natural DSSC in boosting the photovoltaic performance and maintaining the stability of anthocyanins.

Keywords: citric acid, Caesalpinia pulcherrima, dye sensitized solar cells, TiO₂ nanorods

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