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Direct current magnetron sputtering deposition parameters effect on the properties of Silicon doped Aluminum Zinc Oxide thin films

George Kiriakidis 1,2Mirela Suchea 1,3Savas Christoulakis 1,2Theophanis Kitsopoulos 1,3

1. PEML IESL (FORTH), 100, N. Plastira str, Heraklion 70013, Greece
2. Physics Dpt, Univ. of Crete, PO Box 1527, Heraklion 71409, Greece
3. Chemistry Dpt, Univ. of Crete, PO Box 1527, Heraklion 71409, Greece


The surface topology, crystallinity and optical transmission of 100nm thick films grown from a Si-doped Aluminum Zinc Oxide (Si:ZAO) commercial ceramic target (composed of 2% Al2O3 and 1000 ppm Si)  by dc magnetron sputtering technique have been investigated for various oxygen partial pressures in the sputtering atmosphere at two different plasma currents. The effect of Si co-doping of the target reflected on a decrease of deposition rate of about 25% and in an increase of dust formation during growth leading in some cases to an unstable deposition process and growth rate fluctuations.

The thickness variation effect on the physical properties of these films compared with results from an undoped ZAO ceramic target has also been studied. X-ray diffraction (XRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and UV-VIS transmission studies have been applied in order to investigate the physical and transport properties of the deposited films as a function of deposition parameters.

Film surface characterization by AFM showed a tendency for grain agglomeration unlike the case of pure ZAO leading to increased surface roughness from 0.3 nm to ~21 nm for thickness variation from 100nm to 1μm while their preferential crystalline growth orientation revealed by X-ray diffraction remained always the (002) as in the case of undoped ZnO thin films with a slight increase on peak intensity. On the other hand, Si doping of the ZAO target lead to a small decrease of optical transmission compared with thin films grown from an undoped ceramic ZAO target. Decrease of the argon/oxygen ratio in the plasma caused a small decrease in the films’ transmission and a very slightly improvement of conductivity. Si:ZAO thin films deposited by dc planar magnetron sputtering exhibited surface structural and morphological properties which were enhanced significantly by the control of the film deposition parameters.       


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Related papers

Presentation: Poster at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2008, Symposium B, by George Kiriakidis
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2008

Submitted: 2008-05-19 11:56
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:48