A high quality ITO/PET electrode for flexible and transparent optoelectronic devices


High quality indium tin oxide/polyethylene terephthalate (ITO/PET) electrode with sheet resistance as low as 1.16 Ω/□ and the optical transmittance of 91 % at the wavelength of 600 nm was fabricated. The room-temperature radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering technique was used to deposit ITO thin film on PET substrate under low RF power without oxygen flow or post treatment. The remarkable value of 118.5 × 10−3 Ω−1 was achieved for the figure of merit in the 93 nm thick ITO thin film, due to the fine tuning of the sputtering parameters. An entirely Ohmic behavior was recorded for the ITO/PET electrode on the copper contacts suggesting that the product is highly capable for application in optoelectronic devices. The results of field emission scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy demonstrated film consistency with a desired surface morphology giving a Rrms value of 2.073 nm. The elemental, chemical and phase analyses further revealed that the deposited ITO thin film on the PET substrate was pure and amorphous.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6


  1. 1.

    R.A. Mereu, S. Marchionna, A. Le Donne, L. Ciontea, S. Binetti, M. Acciarri, Optical and electrical studies of transparent conductive AZO and ITO sputtered thin films for CIGS photovoltaics. Phys. Status Solidi C 11, 1464–1467 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    S.H. Kim, S.J. Baek, Y.C. Chang, H.J. Chang, Dependence of plasma treatment of ITO electrode films on electrical and optical properties of polymer light-emitting diodes. Phys. Status Solidi A 209, 2317–2323 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    O. Tuna, Y. Selamet, G. Aygun, L. Ozyuzer, High quality ITO thin films grown by dc and RF sputtering without oxygen. J. Phys. D Appl. Phys. 43, 055402–055409 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    G. Li, C.W. Chu, V. Shrotriya, J. Huang, Y. Yang, Efficient inverted polymer solar cells. Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 253503 (2006)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    P.K. Son, S.W. Choi, S.S. Kim, J.S. Gwag, Conductivity of ITO film amplified by multi-step ion beam-treatment on PET layers at room temperature. Surf. Interface Anal. 44, 1606–1610 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    V.S. Vaishnav, S.G. Patel, J.N. Panchal, Development of indium tin oxide thin film toluene sensor. Sensors Actuators B: Chem. 210, 165–172 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    S.H. Lee, S.H. Cho, H.J. Kim, S.H. Kim, S.G. Lee, K.H. Song, P.K. Song, Properties of ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) Film Deposited by Ion-Beam-Assisted Sputter. Mol. Cryst. Liq. Cryst. 564, 185–190 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    G. Socol, M. Socol, N. Stefan, E. Axente, G. Popescu-Pelin, D. Craciun, L. Duta, C.N. Mihailescu, I.N. Mihailescu, A. Stanculescu, D. Visan, V. Sava, A.C. Galca, C.R. Luculescu, V. Craciun, Pulsed laser deposition of transparent conductive oxide thin films on flexible substrates. Appl. Surf. Sci. 260, 42–46 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    L. Kőrösi, A. Scarpellini, P. Petrik, S. Papp, I. Dékány, Sol–gel synthesis of nanostructured indium tin oxide with controlled morphology and porosity. Appl. Surf. Sci. 320, 725–731 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    H. Cho, Y.H. Yun, Characterization of indium tin oxide (ITO) thin films prepared by a sol–gel spin coating process. Ceram. Int. 37, 615–619 (2011)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    S. Marikkannu, M. Kashif, N. Sethupathy, V.S. Vidhya, S. Piraman, A. Ayeshamariam, M. Bououdina, N.M. Ahmed, M. Jayachandran, Effect of substrate temperature on indium tin oxide (ITO) thin films deposited by jet nebulizer spray pyrolysis and solar cell application. Mater.Sci. Semicond. Proc. 27, 562–568 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    J.K. Aijo, V.K. Vineetha, M. Deepak, T. Manju, Influence of sputtering power on the optical properties of ITO thin films. AIP Conf. Proc. 1620, 22–27 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    T.P. Muneshwar, V. Varma, N. Meshram, S. Soni, R.O. Dusane, Development of low temperature RF magnetron sputtered ITO films on flexible substrate. Solar Energy Mater. Solar Cells 94, 1448–1450 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    J. Xu, Z. Yang, H. Wang, H. Xu, X. Zhang, Effect of growth temperature and coating cycles on structural, electrical, optical properties and stability of ITO films deposited by magnetron sputtering. Mater. Sci. Semicond. Proc. 21, 104–110 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    J.H. Park, C. Buurma, S. Sivananthan, R. Kodama, W. Gao, T.A. Gessert, The effect of post-annealing on indium tin oxide thin films by magnetron sputtering method. Appl. Surf. Sci. 307, 388–392 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    M. Huang, Z. Hameiri, A.G. Aberle, T. Mueller, Influence of discharge power and annealing temperature on the properties of indium tin oxide thin films prepared by pulsed-DC magnetron sputtering. Vacuum 121, 187–193 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    K.P. Sibina, N. Swain, P. Chowdhury, A. Dey, N. Sridhara, H.D. Shashikala, A.K. Sharma, H.C. Barshilia, Solar Energy Mater. Solar Cells (2015). doi:10.1016/j.solmat.2015.10.035

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    M. Huang, Z. Hameiri, A.G. Aberle, T. Mueller, Comparative study of amorphous indium tin oxide prepared by pulsed-DC and unbalanced RF magnetron sputtering at low power and low temperature conditions for heterojunction silicon wafer solar cell applications. Vacuum 119, 68–76 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    K.J. Patel, M.S. Desai, C.J. Panchal, Properties of RF magnetron sputtered indium tin oxide thin films on externally unheated glass substrate. J. Mater. Sci.: Mater. Electron. 22, 959–965 (2011)

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    H. Kim, J.S. Horwitz, G.P. Kushto, Z.H. Kafafi, D.B. Chrisey, Indium tin oxide thin films grown on flexible plastic substrates by pulsed-laser deposition for organic light-emitting diodes. Appl. Phys. Lett. 79, 284–286 (2001)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    J. Yang, C. Zhao, X. Liu, J. Yu, D. Sun, W. Tang, Preparation of high quality indium tin oxide film on a microbial cellulose membrane using radio frequency magnetron sputtering. Chin. J. Chem. Eng. 19, 179–184 (2011)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    X. Liu, H. Du, P. Wang, T. Lim, X.W. Sun, A high-performance UV/visible photodetector of Cu2O/ZnO hybrid nanofilms on SWNT-based flexible conducting substrates. J. Mater. Chem. C 2, 9536–9542 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    G. Liu, D. Chen, X. Jiao, Direct solution synthesis of corundum-type In2O3: effects of precursors on products. CrystEngComm 11, 1828–1830 (2009)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Z. Xu, J. Zhu, X. Liao, H. Ni, Thermal behavior of poly (ethylene terephthalate)/SiO2/TiO2 nano composites prepared via in situ polymerization. J. Iran. Chem. Soc. 12, 765–770 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    H. Lee, O.O. Park, Electron scattering mechanisms in indium-tin-oxide thin films: grain boundary and ionized impurity scattering. Vacuum 75, 275–282 (2004)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    K. Zhang, F. Zhu, C.H.A. Huan, A.T.S. Wee, Indium tin oxide films prepared by radio frequency magnetron sputtering method at a low processing temperature. Thin Solid Films 376, 255–263 (2000)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    W. Wu, B. Chiou, S. Hsieh, Effect of sputtering power on the structural and optical properties of RF magnetron sputtered ITO films. Semicond. Sci. Technol. 9, 1242–1249 (1994)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    S.Q. Hussain, W. Oh, S. Ahn, T.A.H. Le, S. Kim, Y. Lee, J. Yi, RF magnetron sputtered indium tin oxide films with high transmittance and work function for a-Si:H/c-Si heterojunction solar cells. Vacuum 101, 18–21 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Farhad Sharif.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bazargan, A.M., Sharif, F., Mazinani, S. et al. A high quality ITO/PET electrode for flexible and transparent optoelectronic devices. J Mater Sci: Mater Electron 28, 2962–2969 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10854-016-5881-7

Download citation


  • Radio Frequency
  • In2O3
  • Sheet Resistance
  • Radio Frequency Power
  • Radio Frequency Magnetron