Polymorph-Selective Deposition of High Purity SnS Thin Films from a Single Source Precursor

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Metal chalcogenide thin films have a wide variety of applications and potential uses. Tin(II) Sulfide, is one such materi-al which presents a significant challenge with the need for high quality SnS, free of oxide materials (e.g. SnO2) oxides and higher tin sulfides (e.g. Sn2S3 and SnS2). This problem is compounded further when the target material exhibits a number of polymorphic forms with different optoelectronic properties. Unlike conventional chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD), which relies heavily on having precursors that are volatile, stable and reac-tive, the use of aerosol assisted CVD (AA-CVD) negates the need for volatile precursors. We report here, for the first time, the novel and structurally characterized single source precursor (1), Dimethylamido-(N-Phenyl-N’,N’-Dimethyl-Thiouriate)Sn(II) dimer, and its application in the deposition, by AA-CVD, of phase-pure films of SnS. A mechanism for the oxidatively controlled formation of SnS from precursor (1) is also reported. Significantly, thermal control of the deposition process allows for the unprecedented selective and exclusive formation of either orthorhombic-SnS (α-SnS) or zinc blende-SnS (ZB-SnS) polymorphs. Thin films of α-SnS or ZB-SnS have been deposited onto Mo, FTO, Si and glass substrates at the optimized deposition temperatures of 375 oC and 300 oC, respectively. The densely packed poly-crystalline thin films have been characterized by XRD, SEM, AFM, Raman spectroscopy, EDS and XPS analysis. These data confirmed the phase purity of the SnS formed. Optical analysis of the α-SnS and ZB-SnS films show distinctly dif-ferent optical properties with direct band gaps of 1.34 eV and 1.78 eV, respectively. Furthermore photoelectrochemical and external quantum efficiency (EQE) measurements were undertaken to assess the optoelectronic properties of the deposited samples. We also report for the first time the ambipolar properties of the ZB-SnS phase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7680-7688
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number22
Early online date15 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2015


  • Thin Films
  • CVD
  • Polymorphism
  • Photoelectrochemistry
  • Tin Monosulfide
  • Photovoltaics


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