Optical Properties of Gallium-Doped Zinc Oxide-A Low-Loss Plasmonic Material: First-Principles Theory and Experiment
Date of this Version12-31-2013
Searching for better materials for plasmonic and metamaterial applications is an inverse design problem where theoretical studies are necessary. Using basic models of impurity doping in semiconductors, transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) are identified as low-loss plasmonic materials in the near-infrared wavelength range. A more sophisticated theoretical study would help not only to improve the properties of TCOs but also to design further lower-loss materials. In this study, optical functions of one such TCO, gallium-doped zinc oxide (GZO), are studied both experimentally and by first-principles density-functional calculations. Pulsed-laser-deposited GZO films are studied by the x-ray diffraction and generalized spectroscopic ellipsometry. Theoretical studies are performed by the total-energy-minimization method for the equilibrium atomic structure of GZO and random phase approximation with the quasiparticle gap correction. Plasma excitation effects are also included for optical functions. This study identifies mechanisms other than doping, such as alloying effects, that significantly influence the optical properties of GZO films. It also indicates that ultraheavy Ga doping of ZnO results in a new alloy material, rather than just degenerately doped ZnO. This work is the first step to achieve a fundamental understanding of the connection between material, structural, and optical properties of highly doped TCOs to tailor those materials for various plasmonic applications.
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology