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Growth morphology and electrical/optical properties of Al-doped ZnO thin films grown by atomic layer deposition

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6 Author(s)
Dhakal, T. ; Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP), Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York 13902 ; VanHart, D. ; Christian, Rachel ; Nandur, Abhishek
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The authors report electrical and optical characterization of zinc oxide (ZnO) and Al-doped zinc oxide (AZO) films grown by atomic layer deposition (ALD). A detailed analysis of ZnO growth morphology is presented with the help of atomic force microscopy imaging, roughness analysis, and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy surface chemistry information. Initially the film grew as islands, which coalesced to complete the substrate coverage at 50 ALD cycles. The AZO films to be used as transparent conducting oxides for solar cell applications were grown on single crystalline Si (100) and float-glass substrates at temperatures from 150–325 °C. The amount of aluminum doping was varied from 2 to 8 %. The AZO film with 5% Al exhibited the highest conductivity in the film, which increased as the growth temperature increased. Hall effect measurements of an AZO film of thickness 575 nm doped at 5% on silicon and glass substrates showed a sheet resistance (Rs) of 100 Ω/□, which improved further to 25 Ω/□ after annealing at higher temperatures in an argon-hydrogen environment. The transmittance and reflectance of the films grown on glass substrates were used to calculate the band gap. The band gap of AZO increased with Al-doping level. The transmittance of the films in the entire 0 to 8 % doping range, was found to be 80 to 90 % in the visible region. In addition, the growth rates of ZnO, Al2O3, and AZO films were also studied. The growth rate of the AZO films was 1.95 Å per ALD cycle with a cycle time of 1 s. This growth rate is relatively large for an ALD process. The interface of the AZO-Al2O3-Si(100) imaged using high resolution transmission electron microscopy showed a random texture and a continuous interface.

Published in:

Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Mar 2012

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