Man, N.; Bikowski, A.; Ellmer, K.: Microstructure evolution of Al-doped zinc oxide and Sn-doped indium oxide deposited by radio-frequency magnetron sputtering: A comparison. Journal of Applied Physics 117 (2015), p. 155301/1-9

The microstructure and morphology evolution of Al-doped zinc oxide (AZO) and Sn-doped indium oxide (ITO) thin films on borosilicate glass substrates deposited by radio-frequency magnetron sputtering at room temperature (RT) and 300 °C were investigated by X-ray diffraction and atomic force microscopy (AFM). One-dimensional power spectral density (1DPSD) functions derived from the AFM profiles, which can be used to distinguish different growth mechanisms, were used to compare the microstructure scaling behavior of the thin films. The rms roughness Rq evolves with film thickness df as a power law, R = c*df^b, and different growth exponents b were found for AZO and ITO films. For AZO films, b of 1.47 and 0.56 are obtained for RT and 300 °C depositions, respectively, which are caused by the high compressive stress in the film at RT and relaxation of the stress at 300 °C. While for ITO films, b = 0.14 and b = 0.64 for RT, and b = 0.89 and b = 0.3 for 300 °C deposition are obtained, respectively, which is related to the strong competition between the surface diffusion and shadowing effect and/or grain growth. Electrical properties of both materials as a function of film thickness were also compared. By the modified Fuchs- Sondheimer model fitting of the electrical transport in both materials, different nucleation states are pointed out for both types of films.