Effects of Thermal Annealing on the Structural and Electrical Properties of ZnO Thin Films for Boosting their Piezoelectric Response

Journal of Alloys and Compounds - Available online 13 March 2021, 159512
Quang Chieu Bui, Bassem Salem, Hervé Roussel, Xavier Mescot, Youssouf Guerfi, Carmen Jiménez, Vincent Consonni, Gustavo Ardila

DOI : 10.1016/j.jallcom.2021.159512




The growth process and post-deposition treatment have strong effects on the structure of ZnO thin films, which can also significantly affect their electrical and piezoelectric properties. In this report, the effect of high temperature annealing under oxygen atmosphere on ZnO stacked thin films grown on silicon by pulsed-liquid injection metal-organic chemical vapor deposition is investigated in detail. By varying the annealing temperature from 600 to 1000 °C, the structural analysis reveals the occurrence of c-axis oriented grain coarsening and growth processes associated with the improvement of crystallinity and removal of carbon impurities. The electrical resistivity also strongly varies with thermal annealing. Those variations are accompanied by an enhancement of the piezoelectric amplitude measured by piezo-response force microscopy (PFM). Interestingly, the PFM measurements reveal the predominant development of O- and Zn-polar domains at low and high temperature annealing, respectively, originating from the anisotropic grain boundary velocity. The present findings show that the high temperature annealing under oxygen atmosphere in ZnO thin films can enhance not only its piezo-amplitude but also its Zn-polarity uniformity, which unambiguously leads to the improvement of its piezoelectric performance.


Published on March 15, 2021