High-Mobility p-Type and n-Type Copper Nitride Semiconductors by Direct Nitriding Synthesis and In Silico Doping Design

Kosuke Matsuzaki, Kou Harada, Yu Kumagai, Shogo Koshiya, Koji Kimoto, Shigenori Ueda, Masato Sasase, Akihiro Maeda, Tomofumi Susaki, Masaaki Kitano, Fumiyasu Oba, Hideo Hosono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Thin-film photovoltaics (PV) have emerged as a technology that can meet the growing demands for efficient and low-cost large-scale cells. However, the photoabsorbers currently in use contain expensive or toxic elements, and the difficulty in bipolar doping, particularly in a device structure, requires elaborate optimization of the heterostructures for improving the efficiency. This study shows that bipolar doping with high hole and electron mobilities in copper nitride (Cu3N), composed solely of earth-abundant and environmentally benign elements, is readily available through a novel gaseous direct nitriding reaction applicable to uniform and large-area deposition. A high-quality undoped Cu3N film is essentially an n-type semiconductor, while p-type conductivity is realized by interstitial fluorine doping, as predicted using density functional theory calculations and directly proven by atomically resolved imaging. The synthetic methodology for high-quality p-type and n-type films paves the way for the application of Cu3N as an alternative absorber in thin-film PV.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1801968
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 2
Externally publishedYes


  • bipolar doping
  • direct nitriding
  • doping design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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