Effects of Annealing Ambient on the Structural, Optical and Electrical Properties of TiO2:Ge Thin Films

  • Lilian A. Owino Department of Physics, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 00100-30197, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Sebastian Waita Department of Physics, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 00100-30197, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Robinson J. Musembi Department of Physics, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 00100-30197, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Francis W Nyongesa Department of Physics, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 00100-30197, Nairobi, Kenya
Keywords: Titanium dioxide, Germanium, Ambient, Structural, Optical, Electrical

Abstract

TiO2, a semiconducting material with a wide energy band gap, has been researched intensively due to its interesting properties and many potential applications. The films properties can as well be modified by preparing the films under diverse ambient to suit diverse applications. In this work, the effects of the annealing atmosphere on the structural, optical and electrical properties of pure TiO2 and TiO2:Ge composite thin films deposited by sputtering from commercially available pure TiO2 and TiO2:Ge (85:15) targets respectively were studied. The films were deposited on fluorine doped tin oxide glass substrates by radio frequency magnetron sputtering technique at room temperature 23–25 ℃ and then annealed at 450 ℃ for one hour in three different atmospheres: air, argon and nitrogen. The XRD results revealed that, both pure TiO2 and TiO2:Ge thin films were crystalline and had a mixed phase of anatase and rutile regardless of the annealing ambient. The calculated crystallite sizes ranged between 19–21 nm with the particle sizes for TiO2:Ge films being larger compared to pure TiO2 as calculated from ImageJ software. Electrical measurements showed that the resistivity of as deposited pure TiO2 films (about 13.03 × 10–2 Ω-cm) was greater than the TiO2: Ge composite (5.91 × 10–2 Ω-cm). Furthermore, on annealing, pure TiO2 had a resistivity of 9.47 × 10–2 Ω-cm–10.4 × 10–2 Ω-cm, while the TiO2:Ge composite had a resistivity of 2.24 × 10–2 Ω-cm–3.61 × 10–2 Ω-cm depending on the annealing atmosphere. Variation of annealing atmosphere had minimal influence on the electrical resistivity of the films. The films annealed in nitrogen recorded the least resistivity values averaging about 5.86 × 10–2 Ω-cm, while those annealed in argon and air recorded a resistivity of 6.94 × 10–2 Ω-cm and 6.65 × 10–2 Ω-cm, respectively. The transmittance spectra showed that, all the annealed films were transparent in the visible region (400–700 nm) with a mean bandgap of 3.60 eV for each annealing atmosphere. It is recommended that films annealed in nitrogen atmosphere could be considered for potential applications in photovoltaics.

Keywords: Titanium dioxide; Germanium; Ambient; Structural; Optical, Electrical

Published
2022-03-31
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 2507-7961
print ISSN: 0856-1761