Preparation and characterisation of transparent conducting oxides and thin films
2010-11-09T14:41:54Z (GMT) by
Transparent conducting oxide (TCOs) thin films, including non-stoichiometric tin doped indium oxide (ITO) and aluminium doped zinc oxide (AZO), have found considerable applications in various displays, solar cells, and electrochromic devices, due to their unique combination of high electrical conductivity and optical transparency. TCO thin films are normally fabricated by sputtering, thermal vapour deposition and sol-gel method. Among them, sol-gel processing, which was employed in this project, is no doubt the simplest and cheapest processing method, The main objectives of this project were to produce indium tin oxides (ITO) and zinc aluminium oxides (AZO) nanoparticles with controlled particle size and morphology and to fabricate TCO thin films with high optical transmittance and electrical conductivity. In this research, hydrothermal method was used to synthesise ITO and AZO nanoparticles. Tin oxides, zinc oxides, ITO and AZO particles with the particle size ranging from 10 nm to several micrometers and different morphologies were synthesised through controlling the starting salts, alkaline solvents and hydrothermal treatment conditions. ITO and AZO thin films were fabricated via sol-gel technique through dip coating method. The effects of the starting salts, alkaline solvents, surfactant additives and coating and calcination conditions on the formation of thin films were investigated. XRD, TEM, FEG-SEM, DSC-TGA, UV-Vis spectrometer and four-point probe resistance meter were used to characterise the crystallinity, particle size, morphology, optical transmittance and sheet resistance of the particles and thin films. Crack-free thin films with high optical transmittance (>80% at 550 nm) and low sheet resistances (2.11 kΩ for ITO and 26.4 kΩ for AZO) were obtained in optimised processing conditions.