P-Type Transparent Cu-Alloyed ZnS Deposited at Room Temperature

Rachel Woods-Robinson, Jason K. Cooper, Xiaojie Xu, Laura T. Schelhas, Vanessa L. Pool, Alireza Faghaninia, Cynthia S. Lo, Michael F. Toney, Ian D. Sharp, Joel W. Ager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


All transparent conducting materials (TCMs) of technological practicality are n-type; the inferior conductivity of p-type TCMs has limited their adoption. In addition, many relatively high-performing p-type TCMs require synthesis temperatures >400 °C. Here, room-temperature pulsed laser deposition of copper-alloyed zinc sulfide (CuxZn1- xS) thin films (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.75) is reported. For 0.09 ≤ x ≤ 0.35, CuxZn1- xS has high p-type conductivity, up to 42 S cm−1 at x = 0.30, with an optical band gap tunable from ≈3.0–3.3 eV and transparency, averaged over the visible, of 50%–71% for 200–250 nm thick films. In this range, synchrotron X-ray and electron diffraction reveal a nanocrystalline ZnS structure. Secondary crystalline CuyS phases are not observed, and at higher Cu concentrations, x > 0.45, films are amorphous and poorly conducting. Within the TCM regime, the conductivity is temperature independent, indicating degenerate hole conduction. A decrease in lattice parameter with Cu content suggests that the hole conduction is due to substitutional incorporation of Cu onto Zn sites. This hole-conducting phase is embedded in a less conducting amorphous CuyS, which dominates at higher Cu concentrations. The combination of high hole conductivity and optical transparency for the peak conductivity CuxZn1- xS films is among the best reported to date for a room temperature deposited p-type TCM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1500396
JournalAdvanced Electronic Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • copper-alloyed zinc sulfide
  • p-type TCMs
  • pulsed laser deposition
  • room temperature processing
  • transparent conductors


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