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Effects of Thermal Annealing on the Structural, Electrical and Mechanical Properties of Al-Doped ZnO Thin Films Deposited by Radio-Frequency Magnetron Sputtering

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The structural, electrical and nanomechanical properties of Al-doped ZnO (AZO) thin films are investigated by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM), Hall measurement and nanoindentation techniques. AZO thin films grown on glass substrates by using radio-frequency magnetron sputtering were annealed at the temperatures ranging from 300 to 500 °C. XRD results indicated that the annealed AZO thin films are textured, having a preferential crystallographic orientation along the hexagonal wurtzite (002) axis. Both the grain size and surface roughness of the annealed AZO thin films exhibit an increasing trend with increasing the annealing temperature. The carrier concentration of the as-deposited AZO thin films is 7.42 × 1019 cm−3 and decrease to 5.20 × 1017 cm−3 for the 500 °C annealing AZO thin films. Furthermore, the hardness and Young's modulus of the annealed AZO thin films were measured by a Berkovich nanoindenter operated with the continuous contact stiffness measurements (CSM) option. Nanoindentation results reveal that the hardness increases from 7.1±0.3 GPa to 11.2±0.4 GPa for films annealed at 300 °C and 500 °C, respectively. On the other hand, Young's modulus for the former is 98.6±3.9 GPa as compared to a value of 122.4±5.2 GPa for the latter.
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Keywords: AFM; AZO THIN FILMS; HALL; HARDNESS; NANOINDENTATION; XRD

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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  • Science of Advanced Materials (SAM) is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal consolidating research activities in all aspects of advanced materials in the fields of science, engineering and medicine into a single and unique reference source. SAM provides the means for materials scientists, chemists, physicists, biologists, engineers, ceramicists, metallurgists, theoreticians and technocrats to publish original research articles as reviews with author's photo and short biography, full research articles and communications of important new scientific and technological findings, encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all latest aspects of advanced materials.
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