Experimental and ab-initio investigation of the microstructure and optoelectronic properties of FCM–CVD-prepared Al-doped ZnO thin films
In this research, pure and aluminium-doped zinc oxide (ZnO) thin films (5–50%) have been synthesized by the fine-channel mist chemical vapor deposition (FCM-CVD) technique. The microstructure and optoelectronic properties of the films have been characterized with the help of scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and UV–visible absorption (UV–Vis), respectively. The critical-doping (Al) concentration of ZnO was found to be 10%. Below this concentration of Al, the preferential orientation of the films was found to be along (002). Moreover, the films are in tensile states and the optical bandgap values found to be decreasing. For heavy doping concentration, the films are found to be in the compression states, and the optical bandgap increased with the Al concentration. To validate our experimental results, DFT calculations were performed to show and explain the origin of the variation of bandgap, tensile, and compression states.
The Authors would like to acknowledge the support through the R&D Initiative—Call for projects around phosphates APPHOS—sponsored by OCP (OCP Foundation, R&D OCP, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, National Center of Scientific and technical Research CNRST, Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Professional Training of Morocco MESRSFC) under the project entitled *Development of a phosphate-based photocatalytic reactor prototype for the treatment and recycling of wastewater*, project ID: TRT-NAJ-01/2017.
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