Abstract

Embedding a thin metal layer between two thin dielectric or semiconductor layers [dielectric/metal/dielectric (DMD)] leads to a kind of transparent electrode that is promising as a substitute for the currently widely applied indium tin oxide electrode. However, the optical and electrical properties of DMD still wait for further improvement. In this study, Ar plasma irradiation (API) was, for the first time to our knowledge, applied to improve the optical and electrical properties of a TiO2/Ag/TiO2 electrode that was fabricated by electron-beam evaporation of TiO2 and electric-resistance heating of high purity Ag under vacuum. Ar plasma was produced by radio frequency glow discharge. The Ag layer was bombarded before the second layer of TiO2 was deposited. The electrode with configuration of TiO2(24nm)/Ag(14nm)/TiO2(24nm) after API for 10 s shows excellent performance. The mean transmittance between 370 and 800 nm reaches 94% and the sheet resistance is as low as 6Ω/sq, while Haacke’s figure of merit is as high as 112×103Ω1. The improvement mechanism is discussed based on field emission scanning electron microscope images and absorption spectra. The improvement is attributed to the fact that API reduces the localized surface plasmon resonance of Ag nanoparticles and makes the Ag film thinner and denser.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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