Celik, E., Aybarc, U., Ebeoglugil, M.F. et al. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol (2009) 50: 337. doi:10.1007/s10971-009-1931-4
The present paper extensively demonstrates synthesis, characterization and optical properties of semiconductor indium tin oxide (ITO) thin films on glass substrate using sol–gel technique for gas sensor applications. Turbidity, pH values, wettability and rheological properties of the prepared solutions were measured to determine solution characteristics by turbidimeter, pH meter, contact angle goniometer and rheometer machines prior to coating process. Thermal, structural, microstructural, mechanical and optical properties of the coatings were characterized by differential thermal analysis–thermogravimetry (DTA/TG), fourier transform infrarared, X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy, scratch tester, refractometer and spectrophotometer. Four different solutions were prepared by changing solvent concentration. Turbidity, pH, contact angle and viscosity values of the solutions were convenient for coating process. Glass substrates were coated using the solutions of InCl3, SnCl2, methanol and glacial acetic acid. The obtained gel films were dried at 300 °C for 10 min and subsequently heat-treated at 500 °C for 10 min in air. The oxide thin films were annealed at 600 °C for 60 min in air. DTA/TG results revealed that endothermic and exothermic reactions are observed at temperature between 70 and 560 °C due to solvent removal, combustion of carbon based materials and oxidation of Sn and In. The spectrum of ITO precursor film annealed at 500–600 °C shows an absence of absorption bands corresponding to organics and hydroxyls. In2Sn2O7−x phase was dominantly found as well as SnO2 with low intensity from XRD patterns. It was found that surface morphologies of the film change from coating island with homogeneous structures to regular surface and thinner film structures with increasing solvent concentration. The films prepared from the solutions with 8 mL methanol have better adhesion strength to the glass substrate among other coatings. Refractive index, thickness and band gap of ITO thin films were determined to be 1.3171, 0.625 μm and 3.67, respectively.