Tuning the Surface Morphologies and Properties of ZnO Films by the Design of Interfacial Layer
Wurtzite ZnO films were grown on MgO(111) substrates by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Different initial growth conditions were designed to monitor the film quality. All the grown ZnO films show highly (0001)-oriented textures without in-plane rotation, as illustrated by in situ reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and ex situ X-ray diffraction (XRD). As demonstrated by atomic force microscopy (AFM) images, “ridge-like” and “particle-like” surface morphologies are observed for the ZnO films grown in a molecular O2 atmosphere with and without an initial deposition of Zn adatoms, respectively, before ZnO growth with oxygen plasma. This artificially designed interfacial layer deeply influences the final surface morphology and optical properties of the ZnO film. From room-temperature photoluminescence (PL) measurements, a strong defect-related green luminescence band appears for the ZnO film with a “particle-like” morphology but was hardly observed in the films with flat “ridge-like” surface morphologies. Our work suggests that the ZnO crystallinity can be improved and defect luminescence can be reduced by designing interfacial layers between substrates and epilayers.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s11671-017-2301-8
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