Growth by radio frequency sputtering and characterisation of rare earth doped wide bandgap oxides

Pandiyan, Rajesh (2013) Growth by radio frequency sputtering and characterisation of rare earth doped wide bandgap oxides. PhD thesis, University of Trento, Trento, Italy, ENSCP, University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, France.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


The thesis reports the results of an experimental research on rare earth ion-doping effects on the structural, chemical, optical and near-infra-red photoluminescence properties of wide band gap oxide films. The aim of the work was to develop materials with good photoluminescence properties, which can be applied to increase the photovoltaic conversion efficiency of crystalline Si-based solar cells, through the increase of the most efficient and useful fraction of the solar spectrum which hits the cells, thanks to a photon frequency down-shifting process. Neodymium trivalent ion (Nd3+) was used as dopant of TiO2 and ZnO thin films. The films, with different Nd concentrations were grown onto quartz by RF plasma co-sputtering and annealed at different temperatures (400°-800°C). Different film architectures were investigated for their photoluminescence properties. Structural changes such as phase transformation from anatase to rutile, internal strain building and lattice distortion due to Nd3+ incorporation in titania, correlated with optical changes, were evidenced. Exciting titania and zinc oxide matrices with optimal Nd concentrations, with ultra-violet (UV) light energies equal to or above their gap values resulted in an efficient frequency down-shifting from UV to near-infra-red emission. The joint study of the vibrational, chemical and structural properties of the doped films allows the understanding of the excitation energy transfer process between the matrix to the ion, where self-trapped excitons can be involved. To conclude this study, the doped films were tested as down-shifter layers onto a Si-solar cell where they gave promising results. They were also tested for their photoactivity with methylene blue, showing their inhibitor effect on the photo-degradation of this organic dye molecule. Keywords: Co-Sputtering, rare earth doping, Neodymium, Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide thin films, Photoluminescence

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Physics
PhD Cycle:XXV
Subjects:Area 02 - Scienze fisiche > FIS/03 FISICA DELLA MATERIA
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