Tuning the Phase and Optical Properties of Ultrathin SnSx Films

In The Journal of Physical Chemistry C


Novel materials suitable for optoelectronics are of great interest due to limited and diminishing energy resources and the movement toward a green earth. We report a simple film growth method to tune the S composition, x from 1 to 2 in semiconductor ultrathin SnSx films on quartz substrates, that is, single phase SnS, single phase SnS2, and mixed phases of both SnS and SnS2 by varying the sulfurization temperature from 150 to 500 °C. Due to the ultrathin nature of the SnSx films, their structural and optical properties are characterized and cross-checked by multiple surface-sensitive techniques. The grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD) shows that the single phase SnS forms at 150 °C, single phase SnS2 forms at 350 °C and higher, and mixed phases of SnS and SnS2 form at temperature between. GIXRD shows structures of SnS film and SnS2 film are orthorhombic and 2H hexagonal, respectively. To complement the GIXRD, the reflection high energy electron diffraction pattern analysis shows that both pure phases are polycrystalline on the surface. Raman spectra support existence of pure phase SnS, pure phase SnS2, and mixed phases of SnS and SnS2. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy reveals that the near surface stoichiometry of both single phase SnS and single phase SnS2 are close to Sn/S ratios of 1:1 and 1:2, respectively. UV–vis spectroscopy shows the optical absorption coefficient of SnS film is higher than 105 cm–1 above the optical bandgap of 1.38 ± 0.02 eV, an ideal optical absorber. A two-terminal device made of SnS film grown on SiO2 substrates shows good photoresponse. The SnS2 has an optical bandgap of 2.21 ± 0.02 eV. A photoluminescence (PL) peak of SnS2 film is observed at ∼542 nm. Time-resolved PL of the single phase ultrathin SnS2 film indicates a carrier lifetime of 1.62 ns, longer than sub nanosecond lifetime from multilayer SnS2. Our comprehensive results show that ultrathin SnS and SnS2 films have the required properties for potential photodetectors and solar cell applications but consume much less material as compared with current thin film devices.

Yu Xiang
Yu Xiang
Applied Scientist

PhD in Physics, Applied Scientist.