Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) thin films were deposited by sputtering on glass substrates using stacked precursors. The stacked precursor thin films were prepared from Cu, SnS2 and ZnS targets at room temperature with different stacking orders of Cu/SnS2/ZnS/glass (A), ZnS/Cu/SnS2/glass (B) and SnS2/ZnS/Cu/glass (C). The stacked precursor thin films were sulfurized using a tubular rapid thermal annealing system in a mixed N-2 (95%)+ H2S (5%) atmosphere at 550 degrees C for 10 min. The effects of the stacking order in the precursor thin films on the structural, morphological, chemical, electrical and optical properties of the CZTS thin films were investigated. X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies showed that the annealed CZTS thin film using a stacking order A had a single kesterite crystal structure without secondary phases, whereas stacking orders B and C have a kesterite phase with secondary phases, such as Cu2-xS, SnS2 and SnS. The annealed CZTS thin film using stacking order A showed a very dense morphology without voids. On the other hand, the annealed CZTS thin films using stacking orders B and C contained the volcano shape voids (B) and Sn-based secondary phases (C) on the surface of the annealed thin films. The direct band gap energies of the CZTS thin films were approximately 1.45 eV (A), 1.35 eV (B) and 1.1 eV (C). (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.