Towards Tunable and Multifunctional Interfaces: Multicomponent Amorphous Alloys and Bilayer Stacks
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Controlling the electronic structure and requisite charge transfer at and across interfaces is a grand challenge of materials science. Despite decades of research and numerous successes in the fields microelectronics and photovoltaics much work remains to be done. In many applications, whether they be in microelectronics, photovoltaics or display technology there is a demand for multiple functions at a single interface. Historically, existent materials were either discarded as an option due to known properties or tested with some application based figure of merit in mind. Following this, the quality of the material and/or the preparation of the surface/interface to which the material would be deposited was optimized. As the microelectronics and photovoltaics industries have matured, continued progress (faster, lower power transistors and more efficient, cheaper, abundant solar cells) will require new materials (possibly not previously existent) that are fundamentally better for their application than their highly optimized existent counter parts. The manifestation of this has been seen in the microelectronics field with introduction of hafnium silicates to replace silica (which had previously been monumentally successful) as the gate dielectrics for the most advanced transistors. Continued progress in efficient, cheap, abundant photovoltaics will require similar advances. Advances will be needed in the area of new abundant absorbers that can be deposited cheaply which result in materials with high efficiencies. In addition, selective contacts capable of extracting charge from efficient absorbers with low ohmic losses and low recombination rates will be needed. Presented here are two approaches to the multifunctional interface problem, first the use of amorphous alloys that open up the accessible composition space of thin films significantly and second the use of bilayers that loosen the requirements of a single film at an interface.