Solar Cells & Photonics Research Laboratory

School of Chemistry
University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India

An insight to the low temperature conduction mechanism of c-axis grown Al-doped ZnO, a widely used transparent conducting oxide


Authors: Banavoth Murali, Jayanta Parui, M Madhuri, S B Krupanidhi


Keywords: Threshold frequencies, Conduction mechanism

Year: 2015​​

Abstract: Al-doped ZnO thin films were synthesized from oxygen reactive co-sputtering of Al and Zn targets. Explicit doping of Al in the highly c-axis oriented crystalline films of ZnO was manifested in terms of structural optical and electrical properties. Electrical conduction with different extent of Al doping into the crystal lattice of ZnO (AZnO) were characterized by frequency dependent (40 Hz–50 MHz) resistance. From the frequency dependent resistance, the ac conduction of them, and correlations of localized charge particles in the crystalline films were studied. The dc conduction at the low frequency region was found to increase from 8.623 µA to 1.14 mA for the samples AZnO1 (1 wt% Al) and AZnO2 (2 wt% Al), respectively. For the sample AZnO10 (10 wt% Al) low frequency dc conduction was not found due to the electrode polarization effect. The measure of the correlation length by inverse of threshold frequency (ω0) showed that on application of a dc electric field such length decreases and the decrease in correlation parameter(s) indicates that the correlation between potentials wells of charge particles decreases for the unidirectional nature of dc bias. The comparison between the correlation length and the extent of correlation in the doped ZnO could not be made due to the observation of several threshold frequencies at the extent of higher doping. Such threshold frequencies were explained by the population possibility of correlated charge carriers that responded at different frequencies. For AZnO2 (2% Al), the temperature dependent (from 4.5 to 288 K) resistance study showed that the variable range hopping mechanism was the most dominating conduction mechanism at higher temperature whereas at low temperature region it was influenced by the small polaronic hopping conduction mechanism. There was no significant influence found in these mechanisms on applications of 1, 2 and 3 V as biases.​​

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