Defect structures in ZnO thin films were studied to clarify the mechanism of charge compensation and crystallinity degradation induced by alloying. Regarding the undoped ZnO films, it was indicated that the degree of non-equilibrium behavior in the films deposited by PLD was much less than in the films prepared by the other two methods, i.e., MBE and sputtering, and, moreover, the solid-state diffusion behavior in the PLD-grown undoped ZnO was close to that of bulk ZnO. The heavily Al-doped films and alloy films with high concentrations of MgO exhibited significant non-equilibrium behavior, even for those prepared by PLD. It was indicated that the high concentration of extrinsic elements, e.g., Al and Mg, introduces non-equilibrium defects into ZnO films and those defects are the cause of the crystallinity degradation and thermal instability of the films.
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Ryoken, H., Sakaguchi, I., Ohgaki, T. et al. Defect structures in undoped and doped ZnO films studied by solid state diffusion. MRS Online Proceedings Library 829, 178–183 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-829-B2.23