High quality ZnO and Ga:ZnO thin films grown onto crystalline Si (100) by RF magnetron sputtering


Undoped and 2% Ga-doped ZnO films have been deposited by RF magnetron sputtering onto single crystal Si (100) substrates equivalent to the commercial Si solar cells. The same films were also grown on amorphous silica substrates to complete their characterization. The films have been characterized by X-ray diffraction, electrical and optical measurements, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman microspectroscopy and scanning and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. Films present a very good quality crystalline wurtzite structure with the c-axis perpendicular to the substrate, with continuity of the (0002) planes along the whole film, as shown by transmission electron microscopy. The doped sample shows an increase of two orders of magnitude of the electrical conductivity, an optical transmittance bigger than 85% along the visible spectrum, a diminution of the grain size in the direction parallel to the substrate and a lower surface roughness. The Ga-cations act only as substitutional impurities, they are homogeneously distributed in the whole film, maintaining the wurtzite structure and increasing the carrier density. The formation of any spurious phase or segregation of Ga2O3 clusters that can act as carrier traps can be discarded. The characterization results allow us to conclude that the doped film has improved electrical and optical properties with respect to the undoped one. Therefore, the Ga-doped films are very suitable candidates as transparent conducting electrodes for solar cells, displays and other photoelectronic devices.

Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 95, 2327–2334 (2011)