Optical modeling of plasma-deposited ZnO films : electron scattering at different length scales

H.C.M. Knoops, B.W.H. Loo, van de, S. Smit, M. Ponomarev, J.W. Weber, K. Sharma, W.M.M. Kessels, M. Creatore

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Abstract

In this work, an optical modeling study on electron scattering mechanisms in plasma-deposited ZnO layers is presented. Because various applications of ZnO films pose a limit on the electron carrier density due to its effect on the film transmittance, higher electron mobility values are generally preferred instead. Hence, insights into the electron scattering contributions affecting the carrier mobility are required. In optical models, the Drude oscillator is adopted to represent the free-electron contribution and the obtained optical mobility can be then correlated with the macroscopic material properties. However, the influence of scattering phenomena on the optical mobility depends on the considered range of photon energy. For example, the grain-boundary scattering is generally not probed by means of optical measurements and the ionized-impurity scattering contribution decreases toward higher photon energies. To understand this frequency dependence and quantify contributions from different scattering phenomena to the mobility, several case studies were analyzed in this work by means of spectroscopic ellipsometry and Fourier transform infrared (IR) spectroscopy. The obtained electrical parameters were compared to the results inferred by Hall measurements. For intrinsic ZnO (i-ZnO), the in-grain mobility was obtained by fitting reflection data with a normal Drude model in the IR range. For Al-doped ZnO (Al:ZnO), besides a normal Drude fit in the IR range, an Extended Drude fit in the UV-vis range could be used to obtain the in-grain mobility. Scattering mechanisms for a thickness series of Al:ZnO films were discerned using the more intuitive parameter "scattering frequency" instead of the parameter "mobility". The interaction distance concept was introduced to give a physical interpretation to the frequency dependence of the scattering frequency. This physical interpretation furthermore allows the prediction of which Drude models can be used in a specific frequency range.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)021509-1/13
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films
Volume33
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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