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Non-toxic Copper, Zinc, Tin, Sulfide (CZTS) Thin Films Production for Solar Cells

Technology #20110008

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CZTS Solar CellsCross-section Image of CZTS Thin FilmCopper, Zinc, Tin and Sulfide (CZTS)
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Researchers
Eray Aydil, PhD
Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, College of Science and Engineering
External Link (www.cems.umn.edu)
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Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending 20140216555
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Non-toxic CZTS Thin Films Term Sheet [PDF]

Non-toxic CZTS Thin Films for Solar Cell Technology

Copper, Zinc, Tin and Sulfide (CZTS) thin films are an exciting development in solar cell technology. CZTS uses abundant materials instead of rare earth elements such as indium in copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar cells and tellurium in cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells. CZTS solar cells are expected to give similar performance characteristics to CIGS and CdTe.

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** View the Term Sheet **
** Contact Larry Micek for specific details. **

Current CZTS Production Uses Hydrazine

Current methods to produce CZTS thin films use metal-hydrazine complexes. Hydrazine is highly toxic, unstable and dangerous. Moreover, the films formed from hydrazine require post sulfurization which is typically done using highly toxic gases.

Using Metal-containing Sulfur Eliminates Sulfurization

A method of producing CZTS replaces toxic metal-hydrazine complexes with non-toxic metal-containing sulfur complexes. The metal-containing sulfur complexes already have the sulfur in close proximity to the metal and directly form CZTS upon decomposition without the need for an additional sulfurization step. The reduction in the number of potential manufacturing steps and significant improvement in safety are advantageous and will reduce manufacturing cost.

FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF METHOD TO PRODUCE CZTS THIN FILMS FOR SOLAR CELLS:

  • Uses non-toxic abundant materials instead of rare earth elements like indium and tellurium
  • Avoids usage of dangerous chemicals like hydrazine or hydrogen sulfide
  • Uses metal-containing sulfur precursors which are safer and lowers manufacturing costs
  • Can be formed in solution and does not require a sulfurization step