Sputtered transparent electrodes for optoelectronic devices: Induced damage and mitigation strategies

Erkan Aydin, Cesur Altinkaya, Yury Smirnov, Muhammad A. Yaqin, Kassio P.S. Zanoni, Abhyuday Paliwal, Yuliar Firdaus, Thomas Allen, Thomas D. Anthopoulos, Henk J. Bolink, Monica Morales-Masis, Stefaan De Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Transparent electrodes and metal contacts deposited by magnetron sputtering find applications in numerous state-of-the-art optoelectronic devices, such as solar cells and light-emitting diodes. However, the deposition of such thin films may damage underlying sensitive device layers due to plasma emission and particle impact. Inserting a buffer layer to shield against such damage is a common mitigation approach. We start this review by describing how sputtered transparent top electrodes have become archetypal for a broad range of optoelectronic devices and then discuss the possible detrimental consequences of sputter damage on device performance. Next, we review common buffer-layer materials in view of their processingproperty-performance relationship. Finally, we discuss strategies to eliminate the buffer-layer requirement by implementing alternative, soft-landing deposition techniques for top electrodes. Our review highlights the critical issue of sputter damage for optoelectronic devices, formulates mitigation strategies, and provides cross-field learnings that can lead to more efficient and reliable optoelectronic devices aimed for commercialization.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3549-3584
Number of pages36
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 3 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-11-11
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2019-CARF/CCF-3097, OSR-2019-CRG-4093
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under award numbers OSR-2019-CARF/CCF-3097 and OSR-2019-CRG-4093, from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities (MICIU, MAT2017-88821-R, CEX2019-000919-M), and the Comunitat Valenciana (IDIFEDER/2018/061 and PROMETEU/2020/077). A.P. acknowledges his Grisolia grant from the Comunitat Valenciana GRISOLIAP/2020/134. Y.S. and M.M.-M. acknowledge support from the Solar Era Net CUSTCO project (project number SOL18001). Figures 1 and 2 were created by Heno Hwang, scientific illustrator at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).


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