The Remarkable Thermal Stability of Amorphous In-Zn-O Transparent Conductors


  • Present address: HelioVolt, Austin, Texas 78744 USA.


Transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) are increasingly critical components in photovoltaic cells, low-e windows, flat panel displays, electrochromic devices, and flexible electronics. The conventional TCOs, such as Sn-doped In2O3, are crystalline single phase materials. Here, we report on In-Zn-O (IZO), a compositionally tunable amorphous TCO with some significantly improved properties. Compositionally graded thin film samples were deposited by co-sputtering from separate In2O3 and ZnO targets onto glass substrates at 100 °C. For the metals composition range of 55–84 cation% indium, the as-deposited IZO thin films are amorphous, smooth (RRMS < 0.4 nm), conductive (σ ∼ 3000 Ω−1 · cm−1), and transparent in the visible (TVis > 90%). Furthermore, the amorphous IZO thin films demonstrate remarkable functional and structural stability with respect to heating up to 600 °C in either air or argon. Hence, though not completely understood at present, these amorphous materials constitute a new class of fundamentally interesting and technologically important high performance transparent conductors.