Vanadium dioxide nanocomposite thin film embedded in zinc oxide matrix as tunable transparent conductive oxide
This project is aimed at fabricating a smart material. Zinc oxide and vanadium dioxide have received a great deal of attention in recent years because they are used in various applications. ZnO semiconductor in particular has a potential application in optoelectronic devices such as light emitting diodes (LED), sensors and in photovoltaic cell industry as a transparent electrode. VO2 also has found application in smart windows, solar technology and infrared smart devices. Hence the need to synthesis or fabricate a new smart material using VO2 and an active ZnO based nano-composites family in which ZnO matrix will be hosting thermally active VO2 nano-crystals is the basis of this study. Since VO2 behave as an MIT Mott’s type oxides and exhibits a thermally driven semiconductor-metal phase transition at about 68 oC and as a direct result ZnO:VO2 nano-composites would exhibit a reversible and modulated optical transmission in the infra-red (IR) while maintaining a constant optical transmission in the UV-Vis range. The synthesis is possible by pulsed laser deposition and ion implantation. Synthesis by pulsed laser deposition will involve thin films multilayer fabrication. ZnO buffer layer thin film will be deposited on the glass and ZnO single crystals and subsequent layer of VO2 and ZnO will be deposited on the substrate. X-ray diffraction (XRD) reveals that the series of ZnO thin films deposited by Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) on glass substrates has the hexagonal wurtzite structure with a c-axis preferential orientation. In addition the XRD results registered for VO2 samples indicate that all thin films exhibits a monoclinic VO2 (M) phase. UV-Vis NIR measurements of multilayered structures showed the optical tunability at the near-IR region and an enhanced transparency (>30 %) at the visible range.