Phase stability and structural comparison of phases in the Cu-Zn-Sn-S system using solid-state NMR

Elizabeth A. Pogue, Andre Sutrisno, Nicole E. Johnson, Melissa B. Goetter, Zhelong Jiang, Daniel P. Shoemaker, Angus Rockett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Phases in the Cu-Zn-Sn-S system are of interest to the solar and thermoelectrics communities because all elements are earth-abundant and non-toxic. A better understanding of the structures of these phases and the equilibria between them is necessary to guide device manufacturers. This work reviews all the phases reported in this system and reports which phases form and are stable at 200 °C and 400 °C. In this work, the stable phases in the Cu-Zn-Sn-S system (Cu4Sn7S16, Cu4SnS4, Cu2ZnSnS4, and Cu2SnS3) are synthesized and their structures are investigated using solid-state NMR, X-ray diffraction, and Raman spectroscopy. The existing Cu-Sn-S and Cu-Zn-Sn-S phase diagrams are revised based on our synthesis results. Cu3SnS4 and Cu2ZnSn3S8 are removed from the quaternary and ternary phase diagrams because we did not observe either phase. Prior reports (in thin films and nanocrystals) of Cu3SnS4 may be related to trace amounts of In or large surface areas. Monoclinic Cu2SnS3 is not stable at 400 °C and, at this temperature, a disordered tetragonal phase is stable. At lower temperatures (room-temperature and 200 °C), this same (disordered) tetragonal phase is stable at compositions that are Cu-rich and Sn-poor from Cu2SnS3. Cu4SnS6 was added to the phase diagram at 400 °C. Significant differences in reaction rate when forming Cu4SnS4 from either elemental or binary sulfide precursors are noted and explained. The NMR results are generalized to aid in distinguishing octahedral versus tetrahedral Sn4+ coordinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-48
Number of pages12
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Kesterite
  • Nmr
  • Phase diagram
  • Raman
  • Structure
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Phase stability and structural comparison of phases in the Cu-Zn-Sn-S system using solid-state NMR'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this