A method for synthesizing a thin film of copper, zinc, tin, and a chalcogen species ("CZTCh" or "CZTSS") with well-controlled properties. The method includes depositing a thin film of precursor materials, e.g., approximately stoichiometric amounts of copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), tin (Sn), and a chalcogen species (Ch). The method then involves re-crystallizing and grain growth at higher temperatures, e.g., between about 725 and 925 degrees K, and annealing the precursor film at relatively lower temperatures, e.g., between 600 and 650 degrees K. The processing of the precursor film takes place in the presence of a quasi-equilibrium vapor, e.g., Sn and chalcogen species. The quasi-equilibrium vapor is used to maintain the precursor film in a quasi-equilibrium condition to reduce and even prevent decomposition of the CZTCh and is provided at a rate to balance desorption fluxes of Sn and chalcogens.
The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308 between the United States Department of Energy and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC; the Manager and Operator of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.