A novel soft deposition methodology for textured ZnO:Al thin films as efficient transparent conductive oxide layers

Karina Portillo-Cortez, Selene R. Islas, Amauri Serrano-Lázaro, A. Ortiz, M. F. García-Sánchez, J. C. Alonso, Ana Martínez, C. Ramos, A. Dutt, G. Santana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this paper, a novel soft deposition methodology was developed for depositing Al-doped ZnO (AZO) thin films as Transparent Conducting Oxide (TCO) layer. The new proposed methodology could help in reducing the process time and cost that could subsequently be useful for industrial scalability purposes. In general, the effect of substrate distance (dTS), Ar gas flow (FAr), and sputtering power (PW) were analyzed on structural, morphological, optical, and electrical properties. Films exhibiting the best electrical values (3.2 × 10−4 Ω*cm, 21.3 cm2 V−1 s−1, and 9.2 × 1020 cm−3) were deposited at FAr of 5 sccm, PW of 45 W, and room temperature. Additionally, AZO thin films deposited inside the high-density zone (HDZ, dTS < 6 cm) of the plasma sputtering exhibited a textured surface with crater-like morphology, and it was found to be more evident in films deposited at reduced FAr (5 sccm) and low PW (45 W) values. The present methodology could be of great interest for the low-cost production of AZO thin films with a textured surface obtained in a one-step DC sputtering process for modern optoelectronic applications such as flexible solar cells and electroluminescent devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100255
JournalApplied Surface Science Advances
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • AZO
  • DC magnetron sputtering
  • Soft conditions
  • TCO film

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