Amorphous transparent conducting oxides in context: Work function survey, trends, and facile modification

T. C. Yeh, Q. Zhu, D. B. Buchholz, A. B. Martinson, R. P.H. Chang, T. O. Mason*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The work functions of various amorphous and crystalline transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) were measured using Kelvin probe. The films, made by pulsed laser deposition, exhibited varying work functions dependent on the composition and deposition parameters. Tin oxide showed the largest work functions of the oxides measured, while zinc oxide showed the lowest. Binary and ternary combinations of the basis TCOs showed intermediate work functions dependent on the endpoint components. Amorphous TCOs, important in OPV and other technological applications, exhibited similar work functions to their crystalline counterparts. UV/ozone treatment of TCOs temporarily increased the work function, consistent with proposed defect mechanisms associated with near-surface changes in carrier content and Fermi level. Finally, a method for facile adjustment of the work function of commercial TCOs by atomic layer deposition (ALD) capping layers was presented, illustrated by the growth of zinc oxide layers on commercial crystalline ITO films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-410
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Amorphous
  • Kelvin probe
  • TCO
  • Transparent conducting oxides
  • Work function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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