Role of electron-phonon coupling and thermal expansion on band gaps, carrier mobility, and interfacial offsets in kesterite thin-film solar cells
The efficiencies of solar cells based on kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) and Cu2ZnSnSe4 (CZTSe) are limited by a low open-circuit voltage due to high rates of non-radiative electron-hole recombination. To probe the origin of this bottleneck, we calculate the band offset of CZTS(Se) with CdS, confirming a weak spike of 0.1 eV for CZTS/wurtzite-CdS and a strong spike of 0.4 eV for CZTSe/wurtzite-CdS. We also consider the effects of temperature on the band alignment, finding that increasing temperature significantly enhances the spike-type offset. We further resolve an outstanding discrepancy between the measured and calculated phonon frequencies for the kesterites, and use these to estimate the upper limit of electron and hole mobilities based on optic phonon Fröhlich scattering, which uncovers an intrinsic asymmetry with faster (minority carrier) electron mobility.