The role of copper in ZnO/Cu/ZnO thin films for flexible electronics

K. Sivaramakrishnan, N. D. Theodore, J. F. Moulder, Terry Alford

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55 Scopus citations


ZnO/Cu/ZnO multilayer structures with very high conductivity have been obtained by magnetron sputtering. The Hall resistivity of the films was as low as 6.9× 10-5-cm with a carrier concentration of 1.2× 1022 cm-3 at the optimum copper layer thickness. The conduction mechanism has been explained in terms of metal to oxide carrier injection at low copper thickness and metal layer conduction at higher Cu thicknesses. The peak transmittance of the films is 88% and the photopic averaged transmittance is 75%. Optical transmission behavior of the films involves absorption by copper due to d -band to Fermi-surface transitions at short wavelengths and reflectance combined with scattering losses at long wavelengths. A Burstein-Moss shift in the band gap of the films is seen to take place with increase in thickness of the copper layer. The Haacke figure of merit has been calculated for the films with the best value being 8.7× 10-3 -1. Pole figure results reveal that the copper midlayer acts as a hindrance to (002) ZnO texturing rather than as a seed layer. These results also confirm the mechanism of conduction. The results of the study assume further significance because annealing at 150 °C for up to 24 h in a reducing (Ar+5% H2) ambient was found to have negligible effect on the properties of the films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number063510
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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