A novel synthesis of tin oxide thin films by the sol-gel process for optoelectronic applications
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A novel and simple chemical method based on sol-gel processing was proposed to deposit metastable orthorhombic tin oxide (SnOx) thin films on glass substrates at room temperature. The resultant samples are labeled according to the solvents used: ethanol (SnO-EtOH), isopropanol (SnO-IPA) and methanol (SnO-MeOH). The variations in the structural, morphological and optical properties of the thin films deposited using different solvents were characterized by X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, UV-vis spectroscopy and photoluminescence (PL) analysis. The XRD patterns confirm that all the films, irrespective of the solvents used for preparation, were polycrystalline in nature and contained a mixed phases of tin (II) oxide and tin (IV) oxide in a metastable orthorhombic crystal structure. FTIR spectra confirmed the presence of Sn=O and Sn-O in all of the samples. PL spectra showed a violet emission band centered at 380 nm (3.25 eV) for all of the solvents. The UV-vis spectra indicated a maximum absorption band shown at 332 nm and the highest average transmittance around 97% was observed for the SnO-IPA and SnO-MeOH thin film samples. The AFM results show variations in the grain size with solvent. The structural and optical properties of the SnO thin films indicate that this method of fabricating tin oxide is promising and that future work is warranted to analyze the electrical properties of the films in order to determine the viability of these films for various transparent conducting oxide applications.