Effect of annealing on the structural, optical and electrical properties of ITO films by RF sputtering under low vacuum level
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Indium tin oxide (ITO) thin films were prepared by RF sputtering of ceramic ITO target in pure argon atmosphere at a high base pressure of 3 10 4mbar without substrate heating and oxygen admittance. The use of pure argon during deposition resulted in films with high transparency (80–85%) in the visible and IR wavelength region. The films were subsequently annealed in air in the temperature range 100–400 1C. The annealed films show decreased transmittance in the IR region and decreased resistivity. The films were characterized by electron microscopy, spectrophotometry and XRD. The predominant orientation of the films is (2 2 2) instead of (4 0 0). The transmission and reflection spectra in the wavelength range 300–2500 nm are used to study the optical behaviour of the films. The optical transmittance and reflectance spectra of the films were simultaneously simulated with different dielectric function models. The best fit of the spectrophotometric data was obtained using the frequency-dependent damping constant in the Drude model coupled with the Bruggeman effective medium theory for the surface roughness. It has been found that the sputtering power and the chamber residual pressure play a key role in the resulting optical properties. This paper presents the refractive index profile, the structure determined from the XRD and the electrical properties of ITO films. It has been found from the electrical measurement that films sputtered at 200W power and subsequently annealed at 400 1C have a sheet resistance of 80O/& and resistivity of 1.9 10 3Ocm.