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Materials 2015, 8(10), 7230-7240; doi:10.3390/ma8105369

The Effects of Zr Doping on the Optical, Electrical and Microstructural Properties of Thin ZnO Films Deposited by Atomic Layer Deposition

Centre for Materials and Structures, School of Engineering, University of Liverpool, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 3GH, UK
Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy, University of Liverpool, Liverpool. L69 7ZF, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Peter J. King
Received: 16 September 2015 / Revised: 14 October 2015 / Accepted: 15 October 2015 / Published: 27 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atomic Layer Deposition of Functional Materials)
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Transparent conducting oxides (TCOs), with high optical transparency (≥85%) and low electrical resistivity (10−4 Ω·cm) are used in a wide variety of commercial devices. There is growing interest in replacing conventional TCOs such as indium tin oxide with lower cost, earth abundant materials. In the current study, we dope Zr into thin ZnO films grown by atomic layer deposition (ALD) to target properties of an efficient TCO. The effects of doping (0–10 at.% Zr) were investigated for ~100 nm thick films and the effect of thickness on the properties was investigated for 50–250 nm thick films. The addition of Zr4+ ions acting as electron donors showed reduced resistivity (1.44 × 10−3 Ω·cm), increased carrier density (3.81 × 1020 cm−3), and increased optical gap (3.5 eV) with 4.8 at.% doping. The increase of film thickness to 250 nm reduced the electron carrier/photon scattering leading to a further reduction of resistivity to 7.5 × 10−4 Ω·cm and an average optical transparency in the visible/near infrared (IR) range up to 91%. The improved n-type properties of ZnO: Zr films are promising for TCO applications after reaching the targets for high carrier density (>1020 cm−3), low resistivity in the order of 10−4 Ω·cm and high optical transparency (≥85%). View Full-Text
Keywords: ZnO; Zr doped ZnO; ALD; TCO; optical gap blue-shift ZnO; Zr doped ZnO; ALD; TCO; optical gap blue-shift

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Herodotou, S.; Treharne, R.E.; Durose, K.; Tatlock, G.J.; Potter, R.J. The Effects of Zr Doping on the Optical, Electrical and Microstructural Properties of Thin ZnO Films Deposited by Atomic Layer Deposition. Materials 2015, 8, 7230-7240.

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