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Interfacial Chemical Effects of Amorphous Zinc Oxide/Graphene

Zhao, Zhuo and Fang, Fang and Wu, Junsheng and Tong, Xinru and Zhou, Yanwen and Lv, Zhe and Wang, Jian and Sawtell, David (2021) Interfacial Chemical Effects of Amorphous Zinc Oxide/Graphene. Materials, 14 (10).

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Abstract

Research on the preparation and performance of graphene composite materials has become a hotspot due to the excellent electrical and mechanical properties of graphene. Among such composite materials, zinc oxide/graphene (ZnO/graphene) composite films are an active research topic. Therefore, in this study, we used the vacuum thermal evaporation technique at different evaporation voltages to fabricate an amorphous ZnO/graphene composite film on a flexible polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The amorphous ZnO/graphene composite film inherited the great transparency of the graphene within the visible spectrum. Moreover, its electrical properties were better than those of pure ZnO but less than those of graphene, which is not consistent with the original theoretical research (wherein the performance of the composite films was better than that of ZnO film and slightly lower than that of graphene). For example, the bulk free charge carrier concentrations of the composite films (0.13, 1.36, and 0.47 × 1018 cm−3 corresponding to composite films with thicknesses of 40, 75, and 160 nm) were remarkably lower than that of the bare graphene (964 × 1018 cm−3) and better than that of the ZnO (0.10 × 1018 cm−3). The underlying mechanism for the abnormal electrical performance was further demonstrated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) detection and first-principles calculations. The analysis found that chemical bonds were formed between the oxide (O) of amorphous ZnO and the carbon (C) of graphene and that the transfer of the π electrons was restricted by C=O and C-O-C bonds. Given the above, this study further clarifies the mechanism affecting the photoelectric properties of amorphous composite films.

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