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Advances in Condensed Matter Physics
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 740208, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/740208
Research Article

Effects of Low Ag Doping on Physical and Optical Waveguide Properties of Highly Oriented Sol-Gel ZnO Thin Films

1Semiconductors Laboratory, University of Badji Mokhtar-Annaba, BP 12, Annaba 23000, Algeria
2Environmental Engineering Laboratory, University of Béjaïa, Béjaïa 06000, Algeria
3Laser Physics Laboratory CNRS UMR 7538, University of Paris 13, Sorbonne Paris City, 93430 Villetaneuse, France

Received 19 April 2015; Revised 24 June 2015; Accepted 29 June 2015

Academic Editor: David Huber

Copyright © 2015 Mohamed Dehimi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A sol-gel dip-coating process was used to deposit almost stress-free highly c-axis oriented zinc oxide (ZnO) thin films onto glass substrates. The effects of low silver doping concentration (Ag/Zn < 1%) on the structural, morphological, optical, and waveguide properties of such films were investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy, UV-Visible spectrophotometry, and M-lines spectroscopy (MLS). XRD analysis revealed that all the films were in single phase and had a hexagonal wurtzite structure. The grain size values were calculated and found to be about 24–29 nm. SEM micrographs and AFM images have shown that film morphology and surface roughness were influenced by Ag doping concentration. According to UV-Vis. measurements all the films were highly transparent with average visible transmission values ranging from 80% to 86%. It was found that the Ag contents lead to widening of the band gap. MLS measurements at 632.8 nm wavelength put into evidence that all thin film planar waveguides demonstrate a well-guided fundamental mode for both transverse electric and transverse magnetic polarized light. Moreover, the refractive index of ZnO thin films was found to increase by Ag doping levels.