Strong Volta potential change in doped zinc oxide as a photoresponse to UV irradiation
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Doped ZnO thin films on ITO substrates were prepared by reactive co-sputtering of ZnO and several dopant metals, namely Al, Mn, Ti, W or Zr. To elucidate the influence of the dopant, morphological and compositional investigations were performed applying SEM/EDX, XRD and AFM. The optical band gaps of the materials were determined by UV-VIS measurements and the subsequent analysis of the derived Tauc plots. SKP (Scanning Kelvin Probe) measurements were performed under alternating illumination periods in order to measure the CPD (contact potential difference) response on UV irradiation; effective donor concentrations were calculated from the SKP results. The obtained X-ray diffractograms revealed that W?:?ZnO is amorphous, whereas all other dopants form crystalline structures with diffraction angles shifted towards lower values. SEM and AFM imaging revealed a significant influence of the dopant on the film morphology. The optical band gap values are in the range of the ZnO value (?3.30 eV), with the lowest value of 3.29 eV being measured for Mn?:?ZnO. An exception was found for W?:?ZnO, which exhibits significant band gap widening reaching 4.35 eV. The effective donor concentrations are low for all samples under dark conditions, whereas they showed enhanced values under illumination. The sensitivity of all materials towards illumination makes them promising candidates for future research activities in the field of photovoltaics.