The thermal stability of indium tin oxide (ITO) films and ITO co-sputtered with zinc oxide (ZnO) films at different zinc atomic ratios in various atmospheres are investigated. The resistivity of the annealed ITO films decreased with increased annealing temperatures. The improved electrical properties were attributed mainly to the increase in carrier concentration originating from the significant formation of oxygen vacancies in the ITO films. In contrast, due to the lower oxidation potential of zinc ions, the resistivity of the annealed co-sputtered films showed no significant reduction and an increase with annealing temperatures. The film decomposition due to the high degree outdiffusion of oxygen atoms and aggregation of In atoms observed from the metal-like In phase in the diffraction patterns was responsible for the drastic thermal degradation in the electrical and optical properties of the samples annealed at elevated temperatures in reducing gas atmosphere. In contrast, the superior thermal stability of the co-sputtered films, at an atomic ratio of 60% annealed in reducing gas atmospheres, was ascribed to the stable Zn3In2O6 crystalline structure that appeared in the diffraction pattern. The absorption edge observed from the optical transmittance of these annealed films also showed evidence of carrier concentration evolution in various annealing atmospheres. The lower oxidation potential of the zinc atoms introduced into the ITO films was concluded to be efficient in compensating for the formation of oxygen vacancies resulting in the alleviated decomposition behavior during thermal annealing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Metals and Alloys
- Materials Chemistry