Applied Surface Science, Vol.254, No.9, 2671-2677, 2008
A study on the wet etching behavior of AZO (ZnO : Al) transparent conducting film
This paper studies the wet etching behavior of AZO (ZnO: Al) transparent conducting film with tetramethylammonium hydroxide ( TMAH). The optimum optoelectronic film is prepared first using designated RF power, film thickness and controlled annealing heat treatment parameters. The AZO film is then etched using TMAH etchant and AZ4620 photoresist with controlled etchant concentration and temperature to examine the etching process effect on the AZO film optoelectronic properties. The experimental results show TMAH: H2O = 2.38:97.62 under 45 degrees C at the average etch rate of 22 nm/min as the preferred parameters. The activation energy drops as the TMAH concentration rises, while the etch rate increases along with the increase in TMAH concentration and temperature. After lithography, etching and photoresist removal, the conductivity of AZO film dramatically drops from 2.4 x 10(-3) Omega cm to 3.0 x 10(-3) Omega cm, while its transmittance decreases from 89% to 83%. This is due to the poor chemical stability of AZO film against AZ4620 photoresist, leading to an increase in surface roughness. In the photoresist postbaking process, carbon atoms diffused within the AZO film produce poor crystallinity. The slight decreases in zinc and aluminum in the thin film causes a carrier concentration change, which affect the AZO film optoelectronic properties. (C) 2007 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.