Structure and characterization of Sn, Al co-doped zinc oxide thin films prepared by sol-gel dip-coating process

Min I. Lee, Mao Chia Huang, David Legrand, Gilles Lerondel, Jing Chie Lin

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29 Scopus citations


Transparent conductive zinc oxide co-doped with tin and aluminum (TAZO) thin films were prepared via sol-gel dip-coating process. Non-toxic ethanol was used in this study instead of 2-methoxyethanol used in conventional work. Dip-coating was repeated several times to obtain relatively thick films consisting of six layers. The films were then annealed at 500 °C for 1 h in air or in vacuum and not subsequently as employed in other studies. The X-ray diffraction patterns indicated that all the samples revealed a single phase of hexagonal ZnO polycrystalline structure with a main peak of (002). The optical band gap and resistivity of the TAZO films were in the ranges of 3.28 to 3.32 eV and 0.52 to 575.25 Ω cm, respectively. The 1.0 at.% Sn, 1.0 at.% Al co-doped ZnO thin film annealed in vacuum was found to have a better photoelectrochemical performance with photocurrent density of about 0.28 mA/cm2 at a bias of 0.5 V vs. SCE under a 300 W Xe lamp illumination with the intensity of 100 mW/cm2. Compared to the same dopant concentration but annealed in air (∼ 0.05 mA/cm2 bias 0.5 V vs. SCE), the photocurrent density of the film annealed in vacuum was 5 times higher than the film annealed in air. Through electrochemical measurements, we found that the dopant concentration of Sn plays an important role in TAZO that affected photocurrent density, stability of water splitting and anti-corrosion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-526
Number of pages11
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue numberPB
StatePublished - 3 Nov 2014


  • Al
  • Photoelectrochemistry
  • Sn
  • TAZO
  • Water splitting
  • ZnO


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