Authors Seo, H. ; Kim, B. ; Lee, K.H. ; Chae, S. ; Jung, J.
Title Local disordering in the amorphous network of a solution-processed indium tin oxide thin film
Date 10.05.2022
Abstract The polyhedra unit structure (MOx) in an amorphous metal oxide network has more freedom and flexibility than the same unit structure in a crystalline phase. Consequently, a mild external stimulus (e.g., instant photonic and acoustic energy) could affect and change this network parameter, thereby enhancing and modulating the electrical properties. However, it is difficult to tune these atomic parameters solely while maintaining the metal oxide’s initial global amorphous phase and thereby preventing mechanical instability at the film–substrate interface (i.e., cracking or distortion). Here, we report local disordering in an amorphous network of a solution-processable indium tin oxide (ITO) film, where the disordering is triggered by mild-light irradiation (<0.1 mJ/cm2). Through a combination of systematic characterizations of the global structural and chemical compositional changes in conjunction with extended X-ray absorption fine structure analyses, we revealed the distortion of the atomic structure in the amorphous network of the ITO film led to the formation of additional structural oxygen vacancies. Our findings enabled us to fabricate mechanical-instability-free, perfect amorphous-phase ITO thin films on plastic substrates, where the sheet resistance substantially decreased to ~ 2 × 103 O/·. Furthermore, this sheet resistance did not vary when the film and substrate were bent to a radius of 2 mm and could operate at low temperatures. This work can pave the novel way to fabricate high-quality flexible transparent electrodes suitable for rapid, cost-effective, and patternable processing on plastic substrates, and the domain can be extended to flexible electronics.
Journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 14 (2022) 25620-25628

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