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Open Access Nano Express

Nearly full-dense and fine-grained AZO:Y ceramics sintered from the corresponding nanoparticles

Ye Yang1, Pinjun Lan1, Muqin Wang1, Tiefeng Wei1, Ruiqin Tan2 and Weijie Song1*

Author Affiliations

1 Ningbo Institute of Material Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Science, No. 519, Zhuangshi Road, Zhenhai District, Ningbo, 315201, People’s Republic of China

2 School of Information Science and Engineering, Ningbo University, No. 818 Fenghua Road, Jiangbei District, Ningbo, 315211, People’s Republic of China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:481  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-481

Published: 29 August 2012

Abstract

Aluminum-doped zinc oxide ceramics with yttria doping (AZO:Y) ranging from 0 to 0.2 wt.% were fabricated by pressureless sintering yttria-modified nanoparticles in air at 1,300°C. Scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction analysis, a physical property measurement system, and a densimeter were employed to characterize the precursor nanoparticles and the sintered AZO ceramics. It was shown that a small amount of yttria doping can remarkably retard the growth of the as-received precursor nanoparticles, further improve the microstructure, refine the grain size, and enhance the density for the sintered ceramic. Increasing the yttria doping to 0.2 wt.%, the AZO:Y nanoparticles synthetized by a coprecipitation process have a nearly sphere-shaped morphology and a mean particle diameter of 15.1 nm. Using the same amount of yttria, a fully dense AZO ceramic (99.98% of theoretical density) with a grain size of 2.2 μm and a bulk resistivity of 4.6 × 10−3 Ω·cm can be achieved. This kind of AZO:Y ceramic has a potential to be used as a high-quality sputtering target to deposit ZnO-based transparent conductive films with better optical and electrical properties.

Keywords:
AZO:Y Ceramic; Nanoparticles; Coprecipitation; Sintering; Finer grain; Nearly full density; 61; 61.66.Fn; 61.72.uj