Rational design of hydrogen and nitrogen co-doped ZnO for high performance thin-film transistors

Applied Physics Letters, Volume 118, Issue 12, March 2021. This work investigates the effect of nitrogen and hydrogen (N/H) co-doping on the performance of ZnO thin-film transistors (TFTs). Optimum N/H co-doped ZnO TFTs showed high field-effect mobility (25.5 cm2 Vs−1) and Ion/Ioff (107) and low sub-threshold slope (0.25 V/dec.) and threshold voltage (1.2 V). X-ray photo-electron spectroscopy (XPS) and low-frequency noise analysis suggest that the observed improved electrical performance may be attributed to the reduction of the defect concentration and the average interface trap density due to the occupation of the NO–H complex on the oxygen vacancy and Zn interstitials. Moreover, density functional theory calculation and XPS band structure results demonstrate that the N/H co-doped ZnO film slightly changed the valence band maximum energy offset, indicating that the N/H co-doping controlled the carrier concentration of the ZnO film due to the formation of neutral complex N–H states. The enhanced electrical performance of the N/H co-doped ZnO TFT shows significant potential for the use of low-cost thin film electronic applications.