Room temperature sputtered Cu doped NiO1+δ : p-type conductivity, stability of electrical properties and p-n heterojunction

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

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Original languageEnglish
Article number155269
Journal / PublicationJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Online published23 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2020


Nickel oxide is one of the few wide gap p-type materials which has been applied in many optoelectronic devices. It is well known that the p-type conductivity in NiO arises from Ni vacancy VNi (and/or Oxygen interstitial) acceptors in Oxygen-rich NiO (NiO1+δ). However, due to the instability of these native defects, NiO1+δ is unstable, and its p-type conductivity degrades gradually over time, even at room temperature. In this work, we investigate the effects of copper doping on the optoelectronic properties and the stability of the electrical properties of NiO1+δ (CuxNi1-xO1+δ) synthesized at room temperature by magnetron sputtering. Our results show that with up to 8% Cu doping, the p-type resistivity of NiO1+δ decreases almost by an order of magnitude from 3.3 Ω-cm to 0.4 Ω-cm. Variable temperature Hall measurements show that the hole conduction mechanism can be described by small polaron hopping (SPH) conduction. X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) confirms that Cu is incorporated as Cu+ acceptors in NiO1+δ. Since the p-type conductivity of CuxNi1-xO1+δ films come from both VNi and the more stable Cu acceptors, the electrical properties of these films are found to be more thermally stable compared to NiO1+δ. P-type CuxNi1-xO1+δ films with x = 0.08 exhibit a reasonable resistivity of ∼30 Ω-cm with a transmittance of 60% after annealing at 400 °C. Furthermore, a p-CuxNi1-xO1+δ and an n-type ZnO p-n heterojunction was fabricated, and the structure shows good rectification. XPS reveals that the p-CuxNi1-xO1+δ/n-ZnO heterojunction has a type-II band alignment with a valence band and conduction band offsets of 1.61 ± 0.1 eV and 1.8 ± 0.1 eV, respectively.

Research Area(s)

  • Electrical properties stability, Energy band offsets, Optoelectronic properties, P-type transparent oxide semiconductors, Small polaron hopping conduction, Transparent p-n heterojunction