Synthesis and Characterisation of Metal Chalcogenide Thin Films

  • Amber Pearce

Student thesis: Phd


There is much interest in the electronic potential of 'nano'-semiconductors. The avenue of research pursued in this project was in inorganic analogues of graphene, namely metal chalcogenides MxEy (M = metal, E = S, Se, Te, x ≠ y = integer value). Thin films of these materials have been used in solar cells, ambient thermoelectric generators and IR detectors, due to their interesting properties, such as: optoelectronics, magnetooptic, piezoelectric, thermoelectric and photovoltaic, as well as electrical conductivity. The key issues with the use of these materials are the formation of controlled films, especially in terms of stoichiometry, crystallinity and uniformity, and also the precursor system used. The aim of this research was to synthesise and isolate novel precursor compounds for use in the deposition of metal sulfide thin films (for use with molybdenum and tungsten). The potential viability of the compounds as single source precursors (ssp) was judged following ThermoGravimetric Analysis (TGA). The compounds were also subjected to analysis using NMR (1H, 13C and 31P where applicable), infrared and UV-Vis spectroscopy, as well as elemental analysis. Cadmium sulfide (CdS) is one of the key direct band gap II-VI semiconductors, having vital optoelectronic applications for laser light-emitting diodes, and optical devices based on non-linear properties. The ratio of these films should ideally be 1:1, however, during the formation of cadmium sulfide films, particularly at elevated temperatures, a common problem encountered is the production of sulfur deficient films. These films have a formula consistent with 〖Cd〗_x S_y, where x is an integer value greater than y, but the sulfur deficiency is generally no greater than 10 %. In order to correct this sulfur deficiency, it was decided to investigate deposition making use of both a ssp and an additional sulfur source, with the aim of producing uniform films with 1:1 Cd:S.Molybdenum disulfide films have been deposited previously from multi source precursors and more recently using ssp. In this project MoS2 was deposited using novel ssps in both LP and AACVD on a variety of substrates with the aim of producing uniform thin films and assessing any differences in the morphology of the deposition. This work was continued with the deposition of WS2 and MoxW1-xS2 from ssps which had not been reported previously. The films deposited were analysed using XRD, SEM, EDX (when available) and Raman spectroscopy.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPaul O'Brien (Supervisor)


  • single-source precursors
  • CVD
  • MoS2
  • CdS
  • Thin Films

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