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Overcoming challenges to the formation of high-quality polycrystalline TiO2:Ta transparent conducting films by magnetron sputtering

: Neubert, M.; Cornelius, S.; Fiedler, J.; Gebel, T.; Liepack, H.; Kolitsch, A.; Vinnichenko, M.


Journal of applied physics 114 (2013), No.8, Art. 083707, 7 pp.
ISSN: 0021-8979
ISSN: 1089-7550
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IKTS ()
direct current magnetron sputtering; electrical activation; electrical and optical properties; electrically conductive

The work is focused on understanding the physical processes responsible for the modification of the structure, electrical and optical properties of polycrystalline TiO2:Ta films formed by annealing of initially amorphous films grown by direct current magnetron sputtering of electrically conductive ceramic targets. It is shown that fine tuning of the oxygen content during deposition of amorphous TiO2:Ta films is critical to achieving low resistivity and high optical transmittance after annealing. Increasing the total pressure during magnetron sputter deposition is shown to decrease the sensitivity of the annealed films to the oxygen flow variation during deposition of the initially amorphous layers. Polycrystalline anatase TiO2:Ta films of low electrical resistivity (roh H = 1.5 × 10 -3 omega cm), high free electron mobility (µH = 8 cm 2/Vs), and low extinction (k550nm = 0.006) are obtained in this way at a total pressure of 2 Pa. The dependence of the polycrystalline film electrical properties on the oxygen content is discussed in terms of Ta dopant electrical activation/deactivation taking into account the formation of compensating defects at different oxygen pressures. The temperature-dependent transport of the polycrystalline anatase TiO 2:Ta films is investigated showing the dominant role of the optical phonon scattering in the case of films with an optimum Ti/O ratio.