Zinc oxide thin films and nanostructures for optoelectronic applications
MetadataShow full item record
The objective of this research focuses on investigating optical, electrical, and structural properties of Al doped ZnO (AZO) and developing novel approaches to demonstrate and improve the photovoltaics and photodetectors by introducing AZO nanoscaled structures. ZnO has been widely studied for optoelectronic applications such as light emitting diodes, lasers and photodiodes covering the ultraviolet spectrum because of its wide and direct bandgap and high exciton binding energy. In this research, aluminum doped ZnO films were grown by a dual beam sputtering method which is a combination of RF sputtered ZnO and DC sputtered Al. Various approaches were applied to characterize its optical, electrical and structural modulation in terms of growth parameters and doping parameters. As an n-type dopant, Al doping was controlled from 5×0 16 to 5×0 20 cm -3 maintaining visible transparency with a wider transparency as Al increased, and high mobility ( 2 ∼ 14 cm 2 /V.s). For the optoelectric applications, a ZnO/Si heterojunction was demonstrated and studied regarding Al doping effects on the anisotype and isotype junction. An unlikely conventional photovoltaic structure suggested the ZnO/Si solar cell to be advantageous in terms of low cost fabrication process – low temperature, no diffusion, and large area processing. In this structure, AZO plays a role as a transparent current spreading layer and rectifying junction with silicon (Si). Furthermore, by introducing metal nanostructures inside of the AZO film, light harvesting was enhanced because of plasmonic and light scattering effects ensuring minimized electrical and optical loss within the AZO. To improve photovoltaic performance, a transparent and conductive nanolens array was embedded on ITO film and employed on a conventional Si solar cell using large scale nanoimprint method. The proposed structure provides superior optical transparency beyond 700 nm of wavelength and omnidirectional broadband low reflectivity as well as good electrical conductivity. The nanolens array collimates the long wavelength energy into a shallow depth of Si, showing improved charge collection efficiency. Moreover, wave coupling in the nanolens uncovered region focuses the energy in a more shallow depth as an absorber.