American Chemical Society
am0c17018_si_002.mp4 (6.99 MB)

Scalable Fabrication of Scratch-Proof Transparent Al/F–SnO2 Hybrid Electrodes with Unusual Thermal and Environmental Stability

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posted on 2020-11-18, 20:44 authored by Indrajit Mondal, Gaurav Bahuguna, Mukhesh K. Ganesha, Mohit Verma, Ritu Gupta, Ashutosh K. Singh, Giridhar U. Kulkarni
Fabrication protocols of transparent conducting electrodes (TCEs), including those which produce TCEs of high values of figure of merit, often fail to address issues of scalability, stability, and cost. When it comes to working with high-temperature stable electrodes, one is left with only one and that too, an expensive choice, namely, fluorine-doped SnO2 (FTO). It is rather difficult to replace FTO with a low-cost TCE due to stability issues. In the present work, we have shown that an Al nanomesh fabricated employing the crack template method exhibits extreme thermal stability in air even at 500 °C, compared with that of FTO. In order to fill in the non-conducting island regions present in between the mesh wires, a moderately conducting material SnO2 layer was found adequate. The innovative step employed in the present work relates to the SnO2 deposition without damaging the underneath Al, which is a challenge in itself, as the commonly used precursor, SnCl2 solution, is quite corrosive toward Al. Optimization of spray coating of the precursor while the Al mesh on a glass substrate held at an appropriate temperature was the key to form a stable hybrid electrode. The resulting Al/SnO2 electrode exhibited an excellent transparency of ∼83% at 550 nm and a low sheet resistance of 5.5 Ω/□. SnO2 coating additionally made the TCE scratch-proof and mechanically stable, as the adhesion tape test showed only 8% change in sheet resistance after 1000 cycles. Further, to give FTO-like surface finish, the SnO2 surface was fluorinated by treating with a Selectfluor solution. As a result, the Al/F–SnO2 hybrid film exhibited one order higher surface conductivity with negligible sensitivity toward humidity and volatile organics, while becoming robust toward neutral electrochemical environments. Finally, a custom-designed projection lithography technique was used to pixelate the Al/SnO2 hybrid film for optoelectronic device applications.