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Nanotechnology. 2019 Jan 18;30(3):035207. doi: 10.1088/1361-6528/aaed98.

Electron transport phenomena at the interface of Al electrode and heavily doped degenerate ZnO nanoparticles in quantum dot light emitting diode.

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Center for Opto-Electronic Materials and Devices, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seoul, 02792, Republic of Korea. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul 03722, Republic of Korea.


ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) of 4-5 nm, widely adopted as an electron transport layer (ETL) in quantum dot light emitting diodes (QD-LEDs), were synthesized using the solution-precipitation process. It is notable that synthesized ZnO NPs are highly degenerate intrinsic semiconductors and their donor concentration can be increased up to N D = 6.9 × 1021 cm-3 by annealing at 140 °C in air. An optical bandgap increase of as large as 0.16-0.33 eV by degeneracy is explained well by the Burstein-Moss shift. In order to investigate the influence of intrinsic defects of ZnO NP ETLs on the performance of QD-LED devices without a combined annealing temperature between ZnO NP ETLs and the emissive QD layer, pre-annealed ZnO NPs at 60 °C, 90 °C, 140 °C, and 180 °C were spin-coated on the annealed QD layer without further post-annealing. As the annealing temperature increases from 60 °C to 180 °C, the defect density related to oxygen vacancy (V O) in ZnO NPs is reduced from 34.4% to 17.8%, whereas the defect density of interstitial Zn (Zni) is increased. Increased Zni reduces the width (W) of the depletion region from 0.21 to 0.12 nm and lowers the Schottky barrier (ФB) between ZnO NPs and the Al electrode from 1.19 to 0.98 eV. We reveal for the first time that carrier conduction between ZnO NP ETLs and the Al electrode is largely affected by the concentration of Zni above the conduction band minimum, and effectively described by space charge limited current and trap charge limited current models.


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