Morphological and optical characterization of transparent thin films obtained at low temperature using ZnO nanoparticles

A. Alexa, N. Tigau, P. Alexandru, A. Pimentel, R. Branquinho, Daniela Salgueiro, Tomas Calmeiro, R. Martins, E. Fortunato, Viorica Musat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transparent metal oxides thin films are a class of inorganic conductors and semiconductors with significant importance for use in portable electronics, displays, flexible electronics, multi-functional windows and solar cells. Due to the recent development of transparent and flexible electronics, there is a growing interest in depositing metal-oxide thin-film on plastic substrates that can offer flexibility, lighter weight, and potentially lead to cheaper manufacturing by allowing printing and rollto- roll processing. The plastic substrates, however, limit device processing to below 200oC. In this context, the deposition of high-performance semiconductor thin films from dispersions of pre-prepared oxide nanoparticles at temperatures below 200oC represents a potential key route. This paper reports on the preparation of ZnO transparent thin films using solutionprocessed nanoparticles (NPs) precipitated from zinc acetate alcoholic solution with potassium hydroxide. The nanoparticles size distribution, microstructure and crystallinity were measured by dynamic light scattering (DLS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The thin films were deposited by spin-coating onto soda lima glass substrate, using a dispersion of 1wt% ZnO NPs. The morphology of the films annealed at 120 and 180oC, observed by atomic force microscopy and cross-section scanning electron microscopy, shows columnar grains with diameter ranging between 20 and 70 nm, depending on the conditions of depositions. Optical measurements indicated high transparency, between 85 and 94 %, in the visible range, a direct nature of band-to-band transitions and band gap values between 3,22 and 3,32 eV. The refractive index and extinction coefficient have been calculated from optical transmittance and reflectance spectra.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1288-1295
Number of pages8
JournalJournal Of Optoelectronics And Advanced Materials
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015


  • Microstructure
  • Morphology
  • Optical properties
  • Transparent thin films
  • ZnO nanoparticles
  • Thin film transistors
  • Gallium
  • Gallium zinc


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