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Solution-based synthesis and purification of zinc tin phosphide nanowires.

Nanoscale (2015-11-05)
Erik J Sheets, Robert B Balow, Wei-Chang Yang, Eric A Stach, Rakesh Agrawal
ABSTRACT

The solution-based synthesis of nanoscale earth-abundant semiconductors has the potential to unlock simple, scalable, and tunable material processes which currently constrain development of novel compounds for alternative energy devices. One such promising semiconductor is zinc tin phosphide (ZnSnP2). We report the synthesis of ZnSnP2 nanowires via a solution-liquid-solid mechanism utilizing metallic zinc and tin in decomposing trioctylphosphine (TOP). Dried films of the reaction product are purified of binary phosphide phases by annealing at 345 °C. Tin is removed using a 0.1 M nitric acid treatment leaving pure ZnSnP2 nanowires. Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy indicates ZnSnP2 has a direct bandgap energy of 1.24 eV which is optimal for solar cell applications. Using a photoelectrochemical cell, we demonstrate cathodic photocurrent generation at open circuit conditions from the ZnSnP2 nanowires upon solar simulated illumination confirming p-type conductivity.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Nitric acid, puriss. p.a., reag. ISO, reag. Ph. Eur., for determinations with dithizone, ≥65%
Sigma-Aldrich
Nitric acid, red, fuming, HNO3 >90 %
Sigma-Aldrich
Nitric acid, 70%, purified by redistillation, ≥99.999% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Nitric acid, ACS reagent, ≥90.0%
Sigma-Aldrich
Nitric acid, puriss. p.a., 65.0-67.0%
Sigma-Aldrich
Nitric acid, puriss. p.a., ≥65% (T)
Sigma-Aldrich
Nitric acid, ACS reagent, 70%
Sigma-Aldrich
Trioctylphosphine, technical grade, 90%
Sigma-Aldrich
Trioctylphosphine, 97%
Sigma-Aldrich
Nitric-14N acid solution, ~10 N in H2O, 99.99 atom % 14N