Mapping the Electrical Properties of ZnO-Based Transparent Conductive Oxides Grown at Room Temperature and Improved by Controlled Postdeposition Annealing

Andriy Lyubchyk, António Vicente, Bertrand Soule, Pedro Urbano Alves, Tiago Mateus, Manuel J. Mendes, Hugo Águas, Elvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Indium tin oxide (ITO) is the current standard state-of-the-art transparent conductive oxide (TCO), given its remarkable optical and electrical properties. However, the scarcity of indium carries an important drawback for the long-term application due to its intensive use in many optoelectronic devices such as displays, solar cells, and interactive systems. Zinc oxide-based TCOs can be a cost-effective and viable alternative, but the limitations imposed by their transmittance versus resistivity tradeoff still keep them behind ITO. In this work, an in-depth study of the structural and compositional material changes induced by specific postannealing treatments is presented, based on aluminum zinc oxide (AZO) and hydrogenated AZO (AZO:H) thin films grown by rf-magnetron sputtering at room temperature that allows an extensive understanding of the films' electrical/structural changes and the ability to tune their physical parameters to yield increasingly better performances, which put them in line with the best ITO quality standards. The present investigation comprises results of thermal annealing at atmospheric pressure, vacuum, forming gas, H2 and Ar atmospheres and plasmas. Overall the study being performed leads to a decrease in resistivity above 40%, reaching ρ ≈ 3 × 10−4 Ω cm, with an average optical transmittance in the visible region around 88%. Such results are equivalent to the properties of state-of-the-art ITO.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1500287
JournalAdvanced Electronic Materials
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • aluminum zinc oxide
  • annealing maps
  • electrical properties
  • thin films

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