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Claudia Coughlan winner of Best Oral Presentation in Section at 65th Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium in TCD July 2013


      • 31Systematic Study into the Synthesis and Shape Development in Colloidal CuInxGa1-xS2 Semiconductor Nanocrystals for Integration into Low-Cost Solar Cells
      • Claudia Coughlan,1,2Ajay Singh,1,2 and Kevin M. Ryan1,2*

1SFI-Strategic Research Cluster in Solar Energy Research 

2Materials and Surface Science Institute and Department of Chemical and Environmental Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.






It is widely accepted that crystal silicon technology will not in the long term be competitive on the grid, primarily due to the significant production costs of silicon and competition with the semiconductor industry for resources. Current silicon-based commercial solar cells are very expensive to process, with alternative technologies to date relying on toxic materials such as cadmium or tellurium. Nanometer-sized semiconductors can be synthesized and processed from solution, with wet chemical based approaches generating innovative solar conversion materials, which are suitable for large scale solar power generation. In particular, one of the most sought after materials is copper-indium-gallium-disulfide (CIGS) which is renowned for its superior energy conversion efficiencies, high optical absorption coefficients, exceptional photostability under long term radiation and its relatively low toxicity in comparison to the conventional cadmium based systems.1,2 Herein, we present the growth of monodisperse CuInxGa1-xS2 (CIGS) in size-controlled nanorod form using a facile solution-based approach and provide extensive detail into the evolution pathway of these quaternary nanorods.  Interestingly, the formation of CIGS nanocrystals is shown to occur in several discrete steps, beginning with the formation of binary copper sulfide, transitioning through ternary and subsequently progressing to yield the quaternary form. Sequential investigations into the effect of various capping ligands on growth protocols resulted in the attainment of a diverse range of shape morphologies, further highlighting the existence of an optimal synthetic window at which regular nanorods of controlled dimensions could be achieved. The structural properties were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD).