How Transparent Oxides Gain Some Color: Discovery of a CeNiO3 Reduced Bandgap Phase As an Absorber for Photovoltaics

Hannah Noa Barad, David A. Keller, Kevin J. Rietwyk, Adam Ginsburg, Shay Tirosh, Simcha Meir, Assaf Y. Anderson, Arie Zaban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In this work, we describe the formation of a reduced bandgap CeNiO3 phase, which, to our knowledge, has not been previously reported, and we show how it is utilized as an absorber layer in a photovoltaic cell. The CeNiO3 phase is prepared by a combinatorial materials science approach, where a library containing a continuous compositional spread of CexNi1-xOy is formed by pulsed laser deposition (PLD); a method that has not been used in the past to form Ce-Ni-O materials. The library displays a reduced bandgap throughout, calculated to be 1.48-1.77 eV, compared to the starting materials, CeO2 and NiO, which each have a bandgap of ∼3.3 eV. The materials library is further analyzed by X-ray diffraction to determine a new crystalline phase. By searching and comparing to the Materials Project database, the reduced bandgap CeNiO3 phase is realized. The CeNiO3 reduced bandgap phase is implemented as the absorber layer in a solar cell and photovoltages up to 550 mV are achieved. The solar cells are also measured by surface photovoltage spectroscopy, which shows that the source of the photovoltaic activity is the reduced bandgap CeNiO3 phase, making it a viable material for solar energy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-376
Number of pages11
JournalACS Combinatorial Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 11 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Prof. Ilya Grinberg for the fruitful discussions and ideas, and Dr. Michal Ejgenberg, from the Department of Chemistry at Bar Ilan University, for her assistance with the XPS measurements. H.N.B. and D.A.K. would like to thank the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology, and Space for their financial support.

Funding Information:
*E-mail: ORCID Hannah-Noa Barad: 0000-0003-0764-6421 Kevin J. Rietwyk: 0000-0002-2266-2713 Assaf Y. Anderson: 0000-0003-1657-4415 Present Address ‡K.J.R.: Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia. Author Contributions All authors have given approval to the final version of this manuscript. Funding This work has received funding from the Israel Science Foundation (grant 1729/15) and the Israeli National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI, FTA project). Notes The authors declare no competing financial interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.


  • cerium oxide
  • combinatorial materials science
  • high-throughput
  • metal oxides
  • photovoltaics


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