The structural and physical properties of conducting amorphous Zn-doped SnO2 (a-ZTO) films, prepared by pulsed laser deposition, were investigated as functions of oxygen deposition pressure (pO2), composition, and thermal annealing. X-ray scattering and X-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements reveal that at higher pO2, the a-ZTO films are highly transparent and have a structural framework similar to that found in crystalline (c-), rutile SnO2 in which the Sn4+ ion is octahedrally coordinated by 6 O2- ions. The Sn4+ ion in these films however has a coordination number (CN) smaller by 2%-3% than that in c-SnO2, indicating the presence of oxygen vacancies, which are the likely source of charge carriers. At lower pO2, the a-ZTO films show a brownish tint and contain some 4-fold coordinated Sn2+ ions. Under no circumstances is the CN around the Zn2+ ion larger than 4, and the Zn-O bond is shorter than the Sn-O bond by 0.07 Å. The addition of Zn has no impact on the electroneutrality but improves significantly the thermal stability of the films. Structural changes due to pO2, composition, and thermal annealing account well for the changes in the physical properties of a-ZTO films.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)