Changes in Electrical Characteristics of ZnO Thin Films Due To Environmental Factors

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The impact of light and controlled gas ambient on the electrical characteristics of ZnO:P grown by pulsed laser deposition (PLD) is investigated with temperature-dependent Hall-effect and photo-Hall-effect using above-bandgap light. Exposure to blue/ultraviolet (LTV) light results in long-lived persistent photoconductivity (PPC) effects dominated by electron conduction. However, these persistent effects can be largely reversed by exposing the sample to a controlled ambient of dry O-2 gas. These O-2-induced changes in the electronic properties persist in vacuum up to at least 400 K. Exposure to dry N-2 gas following blue/UV light has no effect on the observed PPC characteristics. The implications of these effects on the preparation of p-type ZnO will be discussed.