Effects of NIR annealing on the characteristics of al-doped ZnO thin films prepared by RF sputtering
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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:294 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-294Published: 6 June 2012
Aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO) thin films have been deposited on glass substrates by employing radio frequency (RF) sputtering method for transparent conducting oxide applications. For the RF sputtering process, a ZnO:Al2O3 (2 wt.%) target was employed. In this paper, the effects of near infrared ray (NIR) annealing technique on the structural, optical, and electrical properties of the AZO thin films have been researched. Experimental results showed that NIR annealing affected the microstructure, electrical resistance, and optical transmittance of the AZO thin films. X-ray diffraction analysis revealed that all films have a hexagonal wurtzite crystal structure with the preferentially c-axis oriented normal to the substrate surface. Optical transmittance spectra of the AZO thin films exhibited transmittance higher than about 80% within the visible wavelength region, and the optical direct bandgap (Eg) of the AZO films was increased with increasing the NIR energy efficiency.