A Review on Microstructural, Optical, Electrical and Gas Sensing Properties of Aluminum-doped Zinc Oxide Thin Films for Gas Sensing and Optoelectronic Applications
Keywords:Al-doped zinc oxide, Thin films, Electrical properties, Gas sensing properties, Porous morphology
In recent years, Al-doped ZnO nanoparticles have been proven to be a promising transparent material applicable in the fabrication of varistors, gas sensors, and thermoelectric, piezoelectric, and electro-optical devices due to its high electrical conductivity and porous morphological nature. Doping ZnO with Al-ions has demonstrated to have strong impact on the overall properties of ZnO nanostructures and significantly improve the electronic performance of ZnO nanomaterial. However, this review summarizes the effect of Aluminium ions as a dopant on the structural, optical, and electrical and gas sensing properties of zinc oxide thin films. The study observed that the presence of Aluminium ions in the ZnO film significantly improved the electronic and gas sensing properties of the films; yet it was remarkably noted from the assembled data that the structural quality of the AZO deteriorated heavily upon increasing the Al-dopants. The morphology of the Al-ZnO thin films was severely influenced, as the study showed that increasing the Al3+/Zn2+ ratio transited the AZO films from hexagonal nanocrystalline into a porous mixture of nanosheets, nanorods, nanowires, narcissus, wrinkled and cluster structures. However, considering the desired morphology and phase purity, as well as enhanced electrical properties, gas sensing properties, and optical transmittance, the optimal window of Al3+/Zn2+ ratio in the fabrication of Aluminium doped zinc oxide thin film was observed between 1at% and 6at%, beyond which the properties of the AZO as observed from the experimental data will no longer be suitable for optoelectronic and gas sensing applications. Further, the authors concluded the review with advancement, challenges, and recommendation for future improvement of Al-doped ZnO as a transparent material for optoelectronic and gas sensing applications.
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