Title: Photoelectrochemical activity of magnetron sputtered ZnO thin films: role of thermal annealing

Authors: M.R. Almamari; N.M. Ahmed; A.M. Holi; F.K. Yam; A.A. Al-Zahrani; M.A. Almessiere

Addresses: School of Physics, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia ' School of Physics, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia ' Department of Physics, College of Education, University of Al-Qadisiyah, Al-Diwaniyah, Al-Qadisiyah 58002, Iraq ' School of Physics, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia ' Department of Chemistry, College of Science, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, 31441, City Dammam, Saudi Arabia ' Department of Physics, College of Science, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, 31441, City Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Abstract: In this paper, the effect of annealing temperature on the properties of ZnO thin films (ZOTFs) obtained using the well-known RF magnetron sputtering technique was investigated using their photoresponse in a photoelectrochemical cell. Properties pertaining to morphology, composition, structure, and optical were examined by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV-vis), respectively. Results from FESEM showed that the surface of the ZOTFs nanoparticles was very compact, with grain size 63.32 nm at 400°C. When compared to other temperatures, 400°C contributes to a wide surface area resulting in a significantly enhanced PEC response. The ZOTF which was prepared under 400°C of annealing temperature, exhibited the highest photocurrent density 0.034 mA cm-2 and photoconversion efficiency (0.026%).

Keywords: RF magnetron sputtering; ZOTFs; photoresponse; photoelectrode; photoconversion efficiency; photoelectrochemical performance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNT.2022.124507

International Journal of Nanotechnology, 2022 Vol.19 No.2/3/4/5, pp.265 - 280

Published online: 27 Jul 2022 *

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