High Quality Zinc Oxide Thin films and Nanostructures Prepared by Pulsed Laser Deposition for Photodetectors

  • Tahani H. Flemban

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Zinc oxide (ZnO) semiconductors have been utilized by many researchers, due to its unique properties beneficial for functional devices. In particular, gadolinium (Gd)–doped ZnO exhibits high ferromagnetic and electrical properties, which is attributed to defect/impurity bands mediated by Gd dopants. In this dissertation, I study the effects of Gd concentration, oxygen pressure using pulsed laser deposition (PLD), and thermal annealing on the optical and structural properties of undoped and Gd-doped ZnO films and nanostructures. Moreover, as the growth of practical ZnO nanostructures-based devices without catalyst, while presently challenging, is highly important for many applications. Thus, for the first time, a novel method is developed for growing well aligned ZnO nanorods (NRs) by optimizing PLD conditions using Gd-doped ZnO target without any catalyst in a single step. This study shows that, both the lattice orientation of the substrate and the Gd characteristics are significant in enhancing the NR growth. Our findings reveal that precise control of the NR density can be achieved by changing the oxygen partial pressure. Furthermore, due to the Gd incorporation, these NRs possess favorable electrical properties with a significant mobility of 177 cm2 (V.s)-1 compared to that reported in literature. Nonetheless significant challenges need to be overcome to achieve reproducible and stable p-type ZnO for commercial applications. Hence, several attempts based on n-type ZnO grown on foreign p-type substrates were made to achieve high-performance devices and overcome the issues arising when p-type doped ZnO is employed. Moreover, Growth of ZnO nanostructures on a foreign p-type substrates does not require a lattice-matched p-type substrate. Thus, for the first time, PLD conditions are improved to grow high quality ZnO nanotubes (NTs) with high optical, structural and electrical properties on a p-type Si (100) substrate without catalyst for high-performance devices. A fabrication of high performance UV photodetector (PD) based on ZnO NT/p-Si is demonstrated with superior responsivity (up to ~ 101.2 AW-1) compared to that reported in literature. This new and simple method demonstrates that the PLD system has a significant potential for improving the performance of materials used in a wide range of electronic and optoelectronic applications.
Date of AwardDec 11 2017
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorIman Roqan (Supervisor)


  • Zinc oxide
  • Pulsed laser deposition
  • Photodetector
  • Nanotubes
  • Nanorods
  • Optical properties

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