Morphological and electrical characterization of low temperature sputtered ITO on inorganic and organic substrates

AUTHOR/S: F. Nanni, M. Tului, M. Valentini, A. Notargiacomo, L. Di Gaspare, F.R. Lamastra


Tin doped indium oxide (ITO) is widely used in many electronic and optoelectronic devices due to its excellent electrical properties and optical transparency. Recently the use of polymeric substrates has been proposed as in ultrathin, lightweight and flexible devices. However the use of such substrates limits the maximum allowed temperature during ITO deposition, with important consequences on coating microstructure, phase and properties. In this paper low temperature (70°C) RF magnetron sputtering of ITO on epoxy substrates with different surface roughness was carried out in different conditions of pressure and oxygen content in chamber. Reference samples on glass substrates were prepared too. The coatings were fully characterized and the results showed that (i) oxygen content in chamber is the major parameter affecting surface resistance on glassy substrates, (ii) polymeric smooth substrates present similar coating microstructure and properties than those on glass, while the substrate stability (type of polymer and degree of cure) is important to prevent microcracks formation as a result of stress release after deposition and (iii) rough substrates present a non-uniform microstructures with formation of clusters of crystallites with various orientation.

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