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Effect of a Discontinuous Ag Layer on Optical and Electrical Properties of ZnO/Ag/ZnO Structures

Vitanov, P.; Ivanova, T.; Dikov, H.; Terziyska, P.; Ganchev, M.; Petkov, N.; Georgiev, Y.; Asenov, A.


ZnO/Ag/ZnO nanolaminate structures were deposited by consecutive RF sputtering at room temperature.The optical transparency, sheet resistance, and figure of merit are determined in relation to the deposition time of Ag and to the film thickness of the ZnO top layer. An improved transmittance has been found in the visible spectral range of the ZnO/Ag/ZnO structure compared to ZnO multilayers without Ag. High transmittance of 98% at 550 nm, sheet resistance of 8 W/sq, and figure of merit (FOM) of 111.01x10-3 Ω-1 are achieved for an optimized ZnO/Ag/ZnO nanolaminate structure. It is suggested that the good optical and electrical properties are due to the deposition of the discontinuous Ag layer. The electrical metallic type conductivity is caused by planar located silver metal granules. The deposition of a discrete layer of Ag nano-granules is confirmed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and cross-section high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) observations.

Keywords: transparent conductive oxide (TCO) transparent conducting nanolam; magnetron sputtering; ZnO/Ag/ZnO; transparent conducting nanolaminate structures; discontinuous Ag layer; oxide/metal/oxide


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