Effects of Al2O3 buffer layer and annealing on the structural and optoelectronic properties of AZO films
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Transparent conductive aluminum-doped ZnO (AZO) films are deposited on glass substrates using radio frequency (rf) magnetron sputtering, with an AZO ceramic target (Al2O3 content is ~ 3 wt%). Before the AZO films is coated, the hydrophilicity of the surface of the glass substrate is increased by oxygen plasma etching. The grey Taguchi method is used to determine the effect of the deposition parameters on the structural and optoelectronic properties of AZO films. In the confirmation runs, using the grey Taguchi method, an improvement of 46.3% in electrical resistivity and of 1.74% in transmittance is observed. The effect of an Al2O3 buffer layer is also determined. When the thickness of the Al2O3 buffer is increased (from 50 nm to 150 nm), the intensity of the (0 0 2) peak for the AZO films increases and the peaks become sharper, the resistivity of the AZO films is decreased and the transmittance is slightly reduced. Annealing at 500 °C in a vacuum (2.0 Pa) for a period of 30 min, increases the performance of the AZO/Al2O3/glass to better than that for AZO/glass samples. Using a Rockwell-C hardness tester, the AZO/Al2O3 (50 nm)/glass film are classified as HF1, which represents good adhesive mechanical strength. The crystallinity of AZO/Al2O3 (50 nm)/glass samples that are annealed at 500 °C for 30 min is improved, the electrical resistivity is 9.70 × 10−4 Ω cm and the optical transmittance in the visible region is approximately 85%. The figure of merit shows that the bi-layer films have better optoelectronic performance.
The research work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province in China (2017-J01772). Educational research projects for young and middle-aged teachers in Fujian (JT180302).
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Conflict of interest
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
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