Chapter 8. Growth of fex2 (x = s, se)-Pyrite Thin Films as Low-Cost Materials for Photovoltaic Applications and ru-Substitution Effect on Their Properties


Beya Ouertani, PhD
Department of Physics-Chemistry & Renewable Energies, University of Carthage and CRTEn, Borj Cedria Science and Technology Park, Tunisia

Part of the book: Pyrite and Pyrrhotite: Managing the Risks in Construction Materials and New Applications


This research addresses the fabrication of low-cost materials for several applications, such as solar cells, electrocatalysts and anodes. We focused on pyrite (FeS2, FeSe2, etc.) films because they are promising candidates for absorption and photocatalysis. Indeed, they are of great interest in applications of renewable energy conversion due to their high optical absorption coefficients (a > 105 cm-1 for hn >1.4eV), their high abundance, their low cost, and their non-toxic constituent elements. Furthermore, the technique selected for the fabrication of our pyrite layers is simpler than others used previously, and it is environmentally safe. It consists of spraying an aqueous solution of FeCl3.6H2O on pre[1]heated glass substrates, followed by heat treatment under sulfur or selenium atmosphere. However, after fabrication, the band gap energy values of the resulting pyrite thin films are only about 1 eV, which is regarded as too low for solar cell applications. Thus, to develop functional pyrite-based photovoltaics, a practical method is needed to increase the band gap of FeS2 and FeSe2 to achieve the optimum band gap energy for single-junction photovoltaic applications, consistent with the Shockley-Queisser theory, of about 1.5 eV. So, a successful method for alloying with ruthenium is, also, described in this chapter. The fabricated Ru-alloyed pyrite films are shown to possess the desired band gap energy for several applications, particularly for the manufacture of photovoltaic cells.

Keywords: pyrite, thin films, FeS2, FeSe2, ruthenium, alloy, spray pyrolysis, desired band gap energy


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