Enhanced sensing characteristics of relative humidity sensors based on Al and F co-doped ZnO nanostructured thin films

Algun G., Akcay N.

JOURNAL OF MATERIALS SCIENCE-MATERIALS IN ELECTRONICS, vol.30, no.17, pp.16124-16134, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


This study reports the humidity sensing characteristics of aluminum (Al) and fluorine (F) co-doped zinc oxide (ZnO) nanostructured thin films with different Al concentrations. Sol-gel method was used in the synthesis of Al and F doped ZnO nanoparticles. The Al concentration was changed to 0.5 mol%, 1 mol% and 1.5 mol% while F concentration was kept constant at 2 mol%. Al and F co-doped ZnO (AFZO) nanostructured thin films for manufacturing relative humidity (RH) sensors were fabricated on glass substrates with a dip coating technique and then annealed at 500 degrees C for 1 h. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrographs indicated that all AFZO films had uniform and homogeneous surfaces. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns revealed that AFZO films were polycrystalline and have a hexagonal wurtzite structure with a preferential orientation along the (002) plane. The RH sensing characteristics of AFZO sensors was determined by electrical resistance measurements in the range of 40-90% RH at room temperature (RT). Both the electrical resistivity and RH sensing characteristics of AFZO sensors were found to be highly dependent on the Al concentration. All AFZO sensors exhibited high sensitivity, excellent stability, fast response and recovery times and a repeatable characteristic. The lowest electrical resistivity and best humidity sensor characteristics were obtained for AFZO sensor containing 1 mol% Al (AFZO-010). The sensitivity ratio between 40 and 90% RH is approximately 247 x for AFZO-010. This study showed that AFZO nanostructured thin films are promising for high performance humidity sensor applications.