Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electronics: Low-temperature method could 'grow' transparent zinc oxide films for displays and solar cells

Date:
April 12, 2012
Source:
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Summary:
A low-temperature method could be used to 'grow' transparent zinc oxide films for use in displays and solar cells.

A low-temperature method could be used to ‘grow’ transparent zinc oxide films for use in displays and solar cells.
Credit: Image courtesy of The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

A low-temperature method could be used to 'grow' transparent zinc oxide films for use in displays and solar cells.

The displays on flat-screen TVs and smartphones, as well as the panels on solar cells, all require materials that not only conduct electricity but are also highly transparent to visible light. One transparent electrical conductor that is typically used in the industry is indium tin oxide (ITO). Unfortunately, ITO is not only expensive but also toxic to the environment.

In a significant step forward in the field, researchers from the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and the A*STAR Data Storage Institute have now pioneered a low-cost methodology for the fabrication of zinc oxide thin films. "These zinc oxide thin films are highly regarded as a promising material for replacing ITO," says Nancy Wong, a principal investigator in the research team.

Zinc oxide is a cheap and abundant material that is widely used in cosmetics such as sun screens or baby powders. Its transparency to visible light is similar to that of ITO, but the fabrication of zinc oxide thin films on an industrial scale is considerably more challenging. In particular, to achieve the necessary electrical conductivity, small amounts of gallium need to be incorporated during growth of the films. Gallium has an additional outer electron in comparison to zinc, which is essential to achieve the necessary electrical conductivity. To date, such gallium-doped zinc oxide (GZO) films have only been realized by high-temperature processing methods.

The method developed by the A*STAR researchers involves the use of pulsed laser deposition. In this room-temperature process, an intense laser beam is used to evaporate zinc and gallium atoms. The atoms move towards a substrate that is also placed within the stainless steel chamber. They then react with oxygen gas also supplied to the growth chamber to form a zinc oxide film on the substrate. Ideal growth compositions were then found by a systematic variation of parameters such as oxygen gas pressure and substrate temperature. The best films grown achieve an optical transparency as well as electrical conductivity that match that of ITO.

Given such advantages, these GZO films could have significant commercial potential. The films may be particularly well-suited for solar panel development, as cost-reduction is a crucial factor for the solar panel industry. "The deposition can be carried out at room temperatures, which reduces the tendency to damage layers underneath, for example, in the plastic substrates applied in organic solar cells and other flexible electronic devices," says Wang. "Entirely new applications beyond ITO could emerge this way."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L.M. Wong, S.Y. Chiam, J.Q. Huang, S.J. Wang, W.K. Chim, J.S. Pan. Examining the transparency of gallium-doped zinc oxide for photovoltaic applications. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2011; 95 (8): 2400 DOI: 10.1016/j.solmat.2011.04.013

Cite This Page:

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Electronics: Low-temperature method could 'grow' transparent zinc oxide films for displays and solar cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412105100.htm>.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). (2012, April 12). Electronics: Low-temperature method could 'grow' transparent zinc oxide films for displays and solar cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412105100.htm
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Electronics: Low-temperature method could 'grow' transparent zinc oxide films for displays and solar cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412105100.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins