The properties of Al doped ZnO thin films deposited on various substrate materials by RF magnetron sputtering

Research paper by Xiaojin Wang, Xiangbin Zeng, Diqiu Huang, Xiao Zhang, Qing Li

Indexed on: 12 Feb '12Published on: 12 Feb '12Published in: Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics


Transparent conductive Al-doped ZnO (AZO) thin films were deposited on various substrates including glass, polyimide film (PI) and stainless steel, using radio frequency magnetron sputtering method. The structural, electrical and optical properties of AZO thin films grown on various substrates were systematically investigated. We observe that substrate materials play important roles in film crystallization and resistivity but little on optical transmittance. X-ray diffractometer study shows that all obtained AZO thin films have wurtzite phase with highly c-axis preferred orientation, and films on glass present the strongest (002) diffraction peaks. The presence of compression stress plays critical role in determining the crystalline structure of AZO films, which tends to stretch the lattice constant c and enlarge the (002) diffraction angle. Although the films on the glass present the finest electrical properties and the resistivity reaches 12.52 × 10-4 Ωm, AFM study manifests that films on flexible substrates, especially stainless steel, bestrew similar inverted pyramid structure which are suitable for window material and electrode of solar cells. The average optical transmittance of AZO thin films deposited on glass and PI are both around 85% in the visible light range (400–800 nm).