MATERIALS RESEARCH EXPRESS, vol.4, no.9, 2017 (SCI-Expanded)
The purpose of this work is to study the properties of Si-doped ZnO (SZO) thin films, which were prepared using the non-reactive thermionic vacuum arc technique. The analysis of the elemental, optical, and surface properties of ZnO: Si thin films was carried out using energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, UV-VIS spectrophotometry, atomic force microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy, respectively. The current-voltage measurement was employed in order to study the electrical properties of the films. The effect of Si doping on the physical properties of ZnO films was investigated. The film thicknesses were measured as 55 and 35 nm for glass and PET substrates, respectively. It was clearly observed from the x-ray diffraction results that the Si and ZnO peaks were present in the coated SZO films for all samples. The morphological studies showed that the deposited surfaces are homogenous, dense, and have a uniform surface, with the existence of some cracks only on the glass substrate. The elemental composition has confirmed the existence of Zn, Si, and O elements within the prepared films. Using a UV-VIS spectrophotometer, the optical parameters such as transmittance, absorbance, refractive index, and reflectance were calculated. It should be noted that the transparency and refractive indices obtained from the measurements decrease with increasing Si concentration. The obtained optical bandgap values using transmittance spectra were determined to be 3.74 and 3.84 eV for the glass and PET substrates, respectively. An increase in the bandgap results demonstrates that the Si doping concentration is comparable to the pure ZnO thin films. The current versus voltage curves revealed the ohmic nature of the films. Subsequently, the development and fabrication of excellent transparent conducting electrodes enabled the appropriate use of Si-doped ZnO thin films.