Rare earth centers properties and electron trapping in SnO2 thin films produced by sol-gel route
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Some very relevant optical. electrical, and structural properties of SnO2 doped with rare-earth ions Er3+ and Eu3+ are presented. Films are produced by the sol-gel-clip coating process, and may be described as a combination of nanoscopic dimension crystallites (about 3-10 nm) with their respective intergrain potential barriers. The Er3+ and Eu3+ ions are expected to act as acceptors in SnO2. which is a natural n-type conductor, inducing a high degree of charge compensation. Electron trapping and emission spectra data are presented and are rather distinct, depending on the location of the rare-earth impurity. This behavior allows the identification of two distinct centers: located either in the SnO2 lattice or segregated at the particles surface. Based on a model for thermally activated cross-section defects, the difference between the capture energy of the photo-excited electron and the intergrain potential barrier is evaluated, leading to distinct values for high and low symmetry sites. A higher distortion in the lattice of undoped SnO2 and SnO2:Eu (1 at.%) was evaluated from Rieuveld refinements of X-ray diffraction data. This was confirmed by Raman spectra, which are associated with the particles size and disorder. By comparing the samples with the same doping concentration, it was found that this disorder is higher in Eu-doped SnO2 than in Er-doped SnO2, which is in agreement with a higher energy for the lattice relaxation in the trapping process by Eu3+ centers. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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