Zinc Oxide: A spectroscopic investigation of bulk crystals and thin films.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The optical properties of zinc oxide crystals and thin films prepared by different methods are investigated. Single crystal zinc oxide samples prepared by melt and hydrothermal growth techniques were obtained. The influence of polarity and growth method on the optical properties were studied and correlated with their electronic properties. Thin films prepared by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and sputtering were studied and the influence of growth conditions and post growth treatment on the optical properties of the films was investigated. The photo-luminescence (PL) of bulk zinc oxide was examined at high resolution. Line widths of less than 0.1 meV were observed. More than a dozen different transitions in the near band edge region (NBE 360-380 nm) were noted, several of which displayed a separation of <0.5 meV which goes some way to illustrating the complexity of the system. Attempts were made, with some success, to reconcile the two main competing identification systems of the NBE transitions and explanations for some of the discrepancies are provided. The controversial deep level transitions in the visible part of the spectrum are fit with 3 Gaussians and their identities discussed with relation to the available literature. The presence of copper impurities was detected in annealed films and a model to explain their behaviour under annealing conditions is hypothesised. Films grown by MBE here at the University of Canterbury are shown to have PL line widths of as little as 2.2 meV, the ratio of active oxygen species in the growth chamber during deposition is shown to effect the optical quality of the films. It is shown that annealing can improve the optical quality of the films and various other methods of influencing the films properties are discussed. Reactive, magnetron, direct current sputtering is shown to be the optimal method of growth for maximising both optical and piezo-electric properties. Optimum annealing temperatures were found at 900 and 1100 ℃ with a local minimum at 1000 ℃. X-ray diffraction, atomic force and scanning electron microscopy measurements in addition to optical PL measurements show the influence of annealing on the polycrystalline sputtered ZnO films. Films grown on glass, silicon, sapphire and quartz were shown to display similar behaviour under annealing conditions. It was found that zinc oxide based devices were liable to be chemically unstable at temperatures above 1100 ℃. The piezo electric properties of the films were examined and attempts were made to prepare a zinc oxide film optimised for both optical quality and piezoelectric properties for possible future applications of a hybrid opto-mechanical coupled devices.