In this study, the effects of post-annealing on the structure, surface morphology and nanomechanical properties of ZnO thin films doped with a nominal concentration of 3 at.% Ga (ZnO:Ga) are investigated using X-ray diffraction (XRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and nanoindentation techniques. The ZnO:Ga thin films were deposited on the glass substrates at room temperature by radio frequency magnetron sputtering. Results revealed that the as-deposited ZnO:Ga thin films were polycrystalline albeit the low deposition temperature. Post-annealing carried out at 300, 400 and 500 °C, respectively, has resulted in progressive increase in both the average grain size and the surface roughness of the ZnO:Ga thin film, in addition to the improved thin films crystallinity. Moreover, the hardness and Young's modulus of ZnO:Ga thin films are measured by a Berkovich nanoindenter operated with the continuous contact stiffness measurements (CSM) option. The hardness and Young's modulus of ZnO:Ga thin films increased as the annealing temperature increased from 300 to 500 °C, with the best results being obtained at 500 °C.
- ZnO:Ga thin films