Band gap engineered ternary semiconductor PbxCd1−xS: Nanoparticle-sensitized solar cells with an efficiency of 8.5% under 1% sun—A combined theoretical and experimental study

Patsorn Boon-on, Shang Wei Lien, Tay Rong Chang, Jen Bin Shi, Ming Way Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We report the synthesis and photovoltaic properties of a ternary metal sulfide alloyed semiconductor PbxCd1−xS prepared by the two-stage sequential ionic layer adsorption reaction. The synthesized PbxCd1−xS nanoparticles (NPs) retain the hexagonal structure of the CdS host with Pb substituting a fraction of the Cd atom (x = 0-0.17). Band structures of PbxCd1−xS with various Pb contents x were calculated using the complementary density functional theory (DFT) method. Optical, quantum efficiency, cyclic voltammetry measurements, and band structure calculation revealed that the band gap of PbxCd1−xS decreased with increasing x, resulting in an increased optical absorption band from 500 to 720 nm (1.73-2.44 eV) for x = 0 to 0.17. Solid-state PbxCd1−xS semiconductor nanoparticle-sensitized solar cells (NSSCs) were fabricated from the synthesized NPs using spiro-OMeTAD as the hole-transporting material. The best Pb0.05Cd0.95S cell yielded a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 3.67%, a Voc of 0.70 V, and a fill factor (FF) of 62.8% under 1 sun. The PCE increased to 5.93% under a reduced light intensity of 0.1 sun and further increased to 8.48% under 0.01 sun. The external quantum efficiency (EQE) spectrum covers the spectral range of 300 to 730 nm with a maximal EQE of 82% at λ = 580 nm. The PCE over 8% can be categorized into a high-efficiency NSSCs. In addition, the Voc of 0.70 V is a relatively high Voc among all NSSCs. The high PCE and Voc suggest that PbxCd1−xS has potential to be an efficient solar absorber.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-341
Number of pages14
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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