Effect of annealing temperature on the thermal transformation to cobalt oxide of thin films obtained via chemical solution deposition

M. Martínez-Gil*, D. Cabrera-German, M. I. Pintor-Monroy, J. A. García-Valenzuela, M. Cota-Leal, W. De la Cruz, M. A. Quevedo-Lopez, R. Pérez-Salas, M. Sotelo-Lerma

*Corresponding author for this work

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19 Scopus citations


An ammonia-free chemical solution deposition formulation is employed to synthesize cobalt hydroxide thin films. The films are subsequently annealed at different temperatures to obtain cobalt oxide (Co3O4). The reaction solution is composed solely of cobalt sulfate and triethanolamine. The annealing temperature has a strong effect on the properties of thin films. X-ray diffraction shows that the films are amorphous despite the thermal treatment; the morphology for both as-deposited and annealed films are found to be homogeneous, compact, with no evident changes. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy reveals that the as-deposited thin films are mainly composed of cobalt hydroxide. After annealing, the films transform into cobalt oxide (Co3O4) thin films. The optical spectra confirm the X-ray photoelectron spectra, due to the appearance of characteristic features of Co3O4 on both characterization methods. The energy band gap is estimated to lie between 2.1 and 3.0 eV. The resistivity of the annealed films ranges from 4.29 × 103 to 1.46 × 104 Ω⋅ cm. Finally, with the work function and ionization energy, we propose an experimental band diagram as a function of annealing temperature, showing a p-type nature for the cobalt oxide films.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104825
JournalMaterials Science in Semiconductor Processing
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the support from the Mexican Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) with the project Problemas Nacionales 2015- 01-1739 . The help in the optical measurements from R. Aceves is sincerely acknowledged. R. Mora-Monroy provided technical assistance in the XPS characterization which is much appreciated. We are thankful to Dr. Julia W.P. Hsu from the University of Texas at Dallas for providing the technical assistance required to perform the photoemission spectroscopy and scanning Kelvin probe testing. M. Martínez-Gil and D. Cabrera-German gratefully acknowledge the graduate grant from the CONACYT.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Band diagram
  • Chemical solution deposition
  • p-type
  • Spinel cobalt oxide
  • Thin films
  • XPS


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