Improving the p–type conductivity of Cu2O thin films by Ni doping and their heterojunction with n–ZnO

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Ying Wang
  • Jiuzhou Zhu
  • Xingyu Shu
  • Chao Ping Liu


Original languageEnglish
Article number153047
Journal / PublicationApplied Surface Science
Online published18 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2022


Cu2O is one of the few transition metal oxides which can exhibit p–type conductivity due to native acceptor defects. Further improvements in the p–type conductivity of Cu2O can be achieved via extrinsic doping and post–growth processing. In this work, we investigate the effects of Ni doping in Cu2O with Ni content up to ∼11%. A variety of analytical techniques were utilized to investigate the structural, optical and electrical properties of these alloy thin films. We find that the incorporation of Ni improves the p–type conductivity of the films without altering the Cu2O crystallographic structure and maintains a wide bandgap of ∼2.5 eV. X–ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements reveal that the Fermi level moves closer to the valence band with increasing x, in agreement with the increasing hole concentration. Significant improvement in the crystallinity as well as the p–type conductivity of the alloy films can be observed after rapid thermal annealing (RTA). In particular, alloys with x≥0.005 exhibit a high hole mobility µ∼12–22 cm2/V-s with low resistivity of ρ∼30–60 Ω-cm and free hole concentration N∼1×1016 cm-3 after RTA in air–N2 ambient at 700°C. Such improvement can be attributed to the formation of Cu vacancies which promotes Ni substitution in the presence of small amount O2 in the air–N2 annealing environment. Finally, we fabricated a transparent p–(NixCu1-x)2O/n–ZnO heterojunction and evaluated its junction performance. XPS measurements reveal a type II band offset of this heterojunction with valence band and conduction band offsets of 2.81 eV and 2.07 eV, respectively. The heterojunction exhibits both rectification and photovoltaic response, demonstrating its potential for p–n junction and photodetection devices.

Research Area(s)

  • Cuprous oxide, Energy band offsets, Heterojunction, p–type transparent oxide semiconductors, Rapid thermal annealing