Aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO) is an electrically conductive and optically transparent material with many applications in optoelectronics and photovoltaics as well as in the new field of plasmonic metamaterials. Most of its applications contemplate the use of complex and nanosized materials as substrates onto which the AZO forms the coating layer. Its morphological characteristics, especially the conformality and crystallographic structure, are crucial because they affect its opto-electrical response. Nevertheless, it was difficult to find literature data on AZO layers deposited on non-planar structures. We studied the AZO growth on silicon-nanowires (SiNWs) to understand its morphological evolution when it is formed on quasi one-dimensional nanostructures. We deposited by sputtering different AZO thicknesses, leading from nanoclusters until complete incorporation of the SiNWs array was achieved. At the early stages, AZO formed crystalline nano-islands. These small clusters unexpectedly contained detectable Al, even in these preliminary phases, and showed a wurtzite crystallographic structure. At higher thickness, they coalesced by forming a conformal polycrystalline shell over the nanostructured substrate. As the deposition time increased, the AZO conformal deposition led to a polycrystalline matrix growing between the SiNWs, until the complete array incorporation and planarization. After the early stages, an interesting phenomenon took place leading to the formation of hook-curved SiNWs covered by AZO. These nanostructures are potentially very promising for optical, electro-optical and plasmonic applications.

Early Stages of Aluminum-Doped Zinc Oxide Growth on Silicon Nanowires

Borgh G.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
La Magna A.;Scalese S.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO) is an electrically conductive and optically transparent material with many applications in optoelectronics and photovoltaics as well as in the new field of plasmonic metamaterials. Most of its applications contemplate the use of complex and nanosized materials as substrates onto which the AZO forms the coating layer. Its morphological characteristics, especially the conformality and crystallographic structure, are crucial because they affect its opto-electrical response. Nevertheless, it was difficult to find literature data on AZO layers deposited on non-planar structures. We studied the AZO growth on silicon-nanowires (SiNWs) to understand its morphological evolution when it is formed on quasi one-dimensional nanostructures. We deposited by sputtering different AZO thicknesses, leading from nanoclusters until complete incorporation of the SiNWs array was achieved. At the early stages, AZO formed crystalline nano-islands. These small clusters unexpectedly contained detectable Al, even in these preliminary phases, and showed a wurtzite crystallographic structure. At higher thickness, they coalesced by forming a conformal polycrystalline shell over the nanostructured substrate. As the deposition time increased, the AZO conformal deposition led to a polycrystalline matrix growing between the SiNWs, until the complete array incorporation and planarization. After the early stages, an interesting phenomenon took place leading to the formation of hook-curved SiNWs covered by AZO. These nanostructures are potentially very promising for optical, electro-optical and plasmonic applications.
2022
AZO
EELS
Nanowires
Silicon
STEM
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/604571
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