We investigated the effect of embedded Au nanoparticles (Au NPs) on electrical properties of zinc oxide (ZnO) for highly conductive oxide semiconductor. Au NPs in ZnO films influenced both the structural and electrical properties of the mixture films. The electrical resistivity decreases by as much as five orders of magnitude. This is explained by the electron emission from Au NPs to the ZnO matrix. Temperature-dependent Hall effect measurements show that an electron emission mechanism changes from tunneling to thermionic emission at T = 180 K. The electron mobility in the mixture film is mainly limited by the grain boundaries at lower temperature (80-180 K), and the Au/ZnO heterogeneous interface at higher temperature (180-340 K). In addition to the electron emission, embedded Au NPs alter the ZnO matrix microstructure and improve the electron mobility. Compared to the undoped ZnO film, the carrier concentration of the Au NP-embedded ZnO film can be increased by as much as six orders of magnitude with a small change in the carrier mobility. This result suggests a way to circumvent the inherent tradeoff between the carrier concentration and the carrier mobility in transparent conductive oxide (TCO) materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)