Transformations and Environmental Impacts of Copper Zinc Tin Sulfide Nanoparticles and Thin Films

Sunipa Pramanik, Nancy Trejo, Eileen McLntire, Natalie V. Hudson-Smith, Beza Tuga, Jiayi He, Eray Aydil, Christy L. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quaternary chalcogenide copper zinc tin sulfide (CZTS) nanoparticles are used to make the p-type absorber layer in CZTS solar cells, which are considered more benign alternatives to those based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) and less expensive than copper indium gallium selenide. CZTS has an ideal band gap and a high absorption coefficient for solar radiation, making the nanoparticles an attractive option for photovoltaic cells. In this work, we explore the toxicity of CZTS nanoparticles using an environmentally relevant bacterial model Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. This study also focuses on understanding the stability of CZTS-based thin films and their direct interaction with bacterial cells. Bacterial cell viability, stability of nanoparticles and thin films, as well as mechanisms of toxicity were evaluated using various analytical tools. The CZTS nanoparticle suspensions show significant acute toxic effects on bacterial cells, but long-term (72 h) exposure of bacterial cells to CZTS-based thin films (made from nanoparticles) do not exhibit similar detrimental impacts on bacterial viability. This result is compelling because it suggests that CZTS nanomaterials will have minimal unintended toxicity as long as they are incorporated into a stable film structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24978-24988
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 24 2023


  • CZTS
  • bacterial cell viability
  • nanoparticle thin films
  • nanoparticle transformations
  • solar cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Transformations and Environmental Impacts of Copper Zinc Tin Sulfide Nanoparticles and Thin Films'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this