Refractive index database

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Optical constants of CdS (Cadmium sulfide)
Treharne et al. 2011: Thin film; n,k 0.3–1.5 µm

Wavelength: µm

Complex refractive index (n+ik)[ i ]

n   k   LogX   LogY   eV

Derived optical constants


A CdS film was deposited on to a soda-lime glass substrate using RF magnetron sputtering. A variable-angle ellipsometer was used to take amplitude and phase change measurements. The refractive index and extinction coefficient was extracted from a multi-oscillator model fit to the ellipsometry data, as a function of wavelength, from 300 to 1500 nm


R. E. Treharne, A. Seymour-Pierce, K. Durose, K. Hutchings, S. Roncallo, D. Lane, Optical design and fabrication of fully sputtered CdTe/CdS solar cells, J. Phys: Conf. Ser. 286, 012038, (2011) (Numerical data kindly provided Dr. Robert Treharne)


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Cadmium sulfide, CdS

Cadmium sulfide (CdS) is an inorganic compound with a hexagonal wurtzite structure or a cubic zincblende structure, depending on the conditions under which it is synthesized. This material has been widely studied for its semiconducting and optoelectronic properties, specifically its use in photodetectors, solar cells, and light-emitting diodes. With a direct bandgap that ranges from approximately 2.4 to 2.5 eV, CdS is highly transparent in the visible range and can absorb ultraviolet light, making it suitable for various optical applications. Its high electron mobility and good thermal stability further extend its utility in electronic devices. However, cadmium is a toxic element, which places constraints on the material's handling and environmental impact. Methods for synthesizing CdS include chemical vapor deposition, sputtering, and various solution-based approaches like sol-gel and hydrothermal methods. Despite the toxicity challenges, CdS remains a pivotal material in the realm of semiconductors and optoelectronics, and it continues to be a subject of extensive research to mitigate its environmental impact while leveraging its advantageous properties.

Other name

  • Cadmium(II) sulfide
  • Cadmium sulphide
  • Cadmium(II) sulphide


  • Greenockite
  • Hawleyite

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