Crystalline Molybdenum Oxide Thin-Films for Application as Interfacial Layers in Optoelectronic Devices

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The ability to control the interfacial properties in metal-oxide thin films through surface defect engineering is vital to fine-tune their optoelectronic properties and thus their integration in novel optoelectronic devices. This is exemplified in photovoltaic devices based on organic, inorganic or hybrid technologies, where precise control of the charge transport properties through the interfacial layer is highly important for improving device performance. In this work, we study the effects of in situ annealing in nearly stoichiometric MoOx (x ∼ 3.0) thin-films deposited by reactive sputtering. We report on a work function increase of almost 2 eV after inducing in situ crystallization of the films at 500 °C, resulting in the formation of a single crystalline α-MoO3 overlaid by substoichiometric and highly disordered nanoaggregates. The surface nanoaggregates possess various electronic properties, such as a work function ranging from 5.5 eV up to 6.2 eV, as determined from low-energy electron microscopy studies. The crystalline underlayer possesses a work function greater than 6.3 eV, up to 6.9 eV, characteristic of a very clean and nearly defect-free MoO3. By combining electronic spectroscopies together with structural characterizations, this work addresses a novel method for tuning, and correlating, the optoelectronic properties and microstructure of device-relevant MoOx layers.
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)7717-7724
StatePublished - 2017