Design of Low Surface Roughness-Low Residual Stress-High Optoelectronic Merit a-IZO Thin Films for Flexible OLEDs

Corinne Packard, Naveen Kumar, Taylor Wilkinson, Mukesh Kumar

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14 Scopus Citations


The development of efficient and reliable large-area flexible optoelectronic devices demands low surface roughness-low residual stress-high optoelectronic merit transparent conducting oxide (TCO) thin films. Here, we correlate surface roughness-residual stress-optoelectronic properties of sputtered amorphous indium zinc oxide (a-IZO) thin films using a statistical design of experiment (DOE) approach and find a common growth space to achieve a smooth surface in a stress-free and high optoelectronic merit a-IZO thin film. The sputtering power, growth pressure, oxygen partial pressure, and RF/(RF+DC) are varied in a two-level system with a full factorial design, and results are used to deconvolve the complex growth space, identifying significant control growth parameters and their possible interactions. The surface roughness of a-IZO thin film varies over 0.19 nm to 3.97 nm, which is not in line with the general assumption of low surface roughness in a-IZO thin films. The initial regression model and analysis of variance reveal no single optimum growth sub-space to achieve low surface roughness (=0.5 nm), low residual stress (-1 to 0 GPa), and industrially acceptable electrical conductivity (>1000 S/cm) for a-IZO thin films. The extrapolation of growth parameters in light of the current results and previous knowledge leads to a new sub-space, resulting in a low residual stress of -0.52 +/- 0.04 GPa, a low surface roughness of 0.55 +/- 0.03 nm, and moderate electrical conductivity of 1962 +/- 3.84 S/cm in a-IZO thin films. These results demonstrate the utility of the DOE approach to multi-parameter optimization, which provides an important tool for the development of flexible TCOs for the next-generation flexible organic light emitting diodes applications.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number22
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-67324


  • electrical conductivity
  • OLED
  • organic light emitting diodes
  • surface measurements
  • thin film growth
  • thin film roughness


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