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Researchers Engineered Zinc Oxide-based Transparent Material

Researchers Engineered Zinc Oxide-based Transparent Material

Researchers engineered zinc oxide-based transparent material that displays tunable electronic properties, according to a report published on January 29, 2019.

This transparent material was developed by researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. It displays tunable electronic properties based on the tweaking of a new type of dopant. Transparent electronics rely on indium tin oxide, which is a transparent and electrically conductive material that has unreasonably high cost due to the scarcity of indium. Zinc-oxide-based materials such as hafnium-doped zinc-oxide materials are expected to offer affordable, green and abundant alternatives to indium tin oxide. However, these materials need high deposition temperatures and display inadequate performance for real-life device applications.

Another alternative to this is developed by a research team led by Husam Alshareef. By using this approach, transparent thin-film transistors can be generated from a single hafnium–zinc oxide (HZO) composite. This is achieved by varying metal oxide ratios in the different transistor layers.

Thin-film transistors generally comprise electrode, dielectric, and channel layers that are deposited on a substrate from various conducting, insulating, and semiconducting materials. Fwzah Alshammari, Ph.D student said, “The electronic properties of HZO can be tuned from conducting to semiconducting to insulating in a highly controlled fashion by simply changing the zinc-oxide/hafnium-dioxide precursor ratio.” Therefore, producing transistor from one binary oxide in a single reaction chamber reduces the fabrication cost and time, which is important for mass production.

Excellent electrical properties are exhibited by all-HZO transistors on glass and plastics. This demonstrates their potential for high-resolution transparent and flexible displays. Moreover, when these are integrated in circuits such as inverters, it exhibits outstanding performance. Furthermore, scientists are planning to design more complex circuits.