Copper Zinc Tin Sulfide (Cu2ZnSnS4) Semiconductors

Topics Covered

Chemical Properties
Electrical Properties
Mechanical and Optical Properties
Recent Developments


Copper zinc tin sulfide is a quaternary semiconducting compound that has favorable optical and electronic properties, similar to copper indium gallium selenide. It can be obtained from chalcopyrite by substituting the trivalent In/Ga with a bivalent Zn and IV-valent Sn. It can be prepared by a variety of vacuum and non-vacuum techniques and serves as an efficient semiconductor for thin film photovoltaics.


Copper zinc tin sulfide can be used as a low cost absorber layer substituting for copper indium gallium selenide in the thin film solar cells. It can lead to production of non-toxic thin film solar cells with high absorption coefficients.

Chemical Properties

The chemical properties of copper zinc tin sulfide are provided in the table below:

Chemical Properties
Chemical Formula Cu2ZnSnS4
Molecular Weight 439.471
CAS No. 12158-89-3
Group Copper – 11
Zinc – 12
Tin – 14
Sulfur - 16
Crystal Structure Tetragonal
Lattice Constant a = 0.5435 nm
c = 1.0843 nm

Electrical Properties

The electrical properties of copper zinc tin sulfide are provided in the table below:

Electrical Properties
Electron Affinity 4.5 eV
Dielectric Permittivity 10
Band Gap 1.45 eV
Electron Thermal Velocity 1 x 107 cm/s
Hole Thermal Velocity 1 x 107 cm/s
Electron Mobility 50 cm/Vs
Hole Mobility 50 cm2/Vs

Mechanical and Optical Properties

The mechanical and optical properties of copper zinc tin sulfide are provided in the tables below:

Mechanical Properties
Density 4.56 g/cm3
Melting Point 990°C
Optical Properties
Refractive Index 2.07

Recent Developments

Looking for equipment to analyze your metals?

Let us source quotes for you for X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzers, Optical Emission Spectrometers, Atomic Absorption Spectrometers or any other analysis instrument you are looking for.

Z. Lin et al (2011) described a novel, environment-friendly Pt-free counter electrode for dye-sensitized solar cells based on low-cost quaternary copper zinc tin sulfide. These copper zinc tin sulfide nanocrystals were synthesized and spin-coated onto fluorine-doped tin oxide glass. The power conversion efficiency of the resulting dye-sensitized solar cells, after selenization of the CZTS semiconductor, was found to be comparable to that of the device with the Pt-free counter-electrode.

Enhancing energy/fuel efficiency by converting waste heat into electricity by using thermoelectric materials is of great interest owing to its reliability and simplicity. However, most of the thermoelectric materials are composed of either toxic or scarce elements. Yang H et al (2012) reported the experimental realization of using abundant and nontoxic copper zinc tin sulfide nanocrystals for potential thermoelectric applications.

These nanocrystals can be synthesized in large quantities from solution phase reaction and compressed into robust bulk pellets through spark plasma sintering and hot press. In addition, they performed electrical and thermal measurements from 300 to 700K to understand the electron and phonon transports. The results showed that extra copper doping during the nanocrystal synthesis enhances the performance of thermoelectric materials.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type