Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Zhou, Weilie

Second Advisor

Malkinski, Leszek

Third Advisor

Trudell, Mark

Fourth Advisor

Wiley, John


In 2013, the worldwide production of renewable electricity accounted for 22.1% of the total energy production with 0.9% coming from solar photovoltaics (PVs). Recently, there has been a growing interest for Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) quaternary semiconductor due to the abundance and low cost of its precursors. Moreover, this chalcopyrite material has an ideal direct band gap around 1.5 eV, high absorption coefficient (α >104 cm-1) and high conductivity, making it suitable for nanostructured and dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) applications. Here, CZTS nanoparticles have been synthesized by pulsed laser deposition (PLD) and simultaneously deposited in the interstitial space of ZnO nanowire arrays to form bulk heterojunction 3D nanostructured solar cells. Secondly, vertically oriented CZTS nanoplates have been synthesized by PLD and used as counter electrode in platinum-free dye-sensitized solar cells. These CZTS nanostructures proved to be suitable in achieving workable solar cells, which could significantly cut down the cell cost and provide environmentally friendly photovoltaic devices. Alternately, hybrid organic–inorganic perovskite solar cells have become one of the most attractive photovoltaic technologies with easy solution fabrication and high conversion efficiencies. However, the devices remain unstable under certain processing and environmental conditions. Herein, formamidinium lead tri-halide perovskite (FAPbI3) planar heterojunction solar cells have been fabricated under a controlled environment. The fabrication parameters (precursor concentration, annealing, etc) and the effect of humidity on the structural, optical, and electrical properties of FAPbI3 thin films and devices have been investigated and proved to be critical in the processing of efficient devices. Solar cells with conversion efficiency of 16.6% have been obtained. Furthermore, in-situ techniques such as in-situ (scanning) transmission electron microscopy and in-situ XRD were performed to understand the crystallization and degradation mechanisms of FAPbI3 thin films.The in-situ data were correlated with planar heterojunction FAPbI3 devices efficiency data in order to improve the device fabrication process.


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