This article presents a strategic review of secondary phases, defects and defect-complexes in kesterite CZTS–Se solar cells responsible for performance gap from CIGS solar cells.
Earth abundant kesterite copper-zinc-tin-sulfide–selenide (CZTS–Se) is considered as cost-effective material for next generation solar cells. However, current CZTS–Se solar cells have much lower efficiency than CIGS solar cells. Rapid progress in achieving the target efficiency in CZTS–Se solar cells is hindered by the narrow phase stability of the quaternary phase, Cu 2ZnSn(S xSe 1−x) 4, and the existence of other competitive and complex secondary phases and defects. This resulted in structural inhomogeneity, local fluctuation of open circuit voltage and high carrier recombination that finally lead to poor device performance and repeatability issues. The higher performance of off-stoichiometric CZTS materials, copper-poor and zinc-rich, and their inherent association with secondary phases and defects force the scientific community to investigate them together. This work aims to provide a comprehensive review for optimum growth conditions to achieve efficient kesterite CZTS–Se material under different conditions, complementary characterization techniques to detect unwanted phases, defects and defect-complexes and various approaches to reduce the secondary phases, defects and defect-complexes for higher performance in CZTS–Se solar cells. Understanding and addressing the structural inhomogeneity, control growth and material characterization are expected to yield closer performance parity between CZTS–Se and CIGS solar cells.