Processing and property evaluation of tungsten-based mixed oxides for photovoltaics and optoelectronics

Mirella Vargas, University of Texas at El Paso


Tungsten Oxide (WO3) films and low-dimensional structures have proven to be promising candidates in the fields of photonics and electronics. WO3 is a well-established n-type semiconductor characterized by unique electrochromic behavior, an ideal optical band gap that permits transparency over a wide spectral range, and high chemical integrity. The plethora of diverse properties endow WO3 to be highly effective in applications related to electrochromism, gas sensing, and deriving economical energy. Compared to the bulk films, a materials system involving WO3 and a related species (elements or metal oxides) offer the opportunity to tailor the electrochromic response, and an overall enhancement of the physio-chemical and optical properties. In the present case, WO3 and TiO2 composite films have been fabricated by reactive magnetron sputtering employing W/Ti alloy targets, and individual W and Ti targets for co-sputtering. Composite WO3-TiO2 films were fabricated with variable chemical composition and the effect of variable bulk chemistry on film structure, surface/interface chemistry and chemical valence state of the W and Ti cations was investigated in detail. The process-property relationships between composition and physical properties for the films deposited by using W/Ti alloy targets of variable Ti content are associated with decreases in the deposition rate of the WO3-TiO2 films due to the lower sputter yield of the strongly bonded TiO2 formed on the target surface. Additionally, for the co-sputtered films using variable tungsten power, the optical properties demonstrate unique optical modulation. The changes associated with the physical color of the films demonstrate the potential to tailor the optical behavior for the design and fabrication of multilayer photovoltaic and catalytic devices. The process-structure-property correlation derived in this work will provide a road-map to optimize and produce W-Ti-O thin films with desired properties for a given technological application.

Subject Area

Engineering|Energy|Materials science

Recommended Citation

Vargas, Mirella, "Processing and property evaluation of tungsten-based mixed oxides for photovoltaics and optoelectronics" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10000810.