ZnO and La-doped ZnO films by USP method and their characterizations for ultraviolet photodetectors and photocatalysis applications

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Inorganic Chemistry Communications, Elsevier Ltd
In this study, ZnO, Zn1-xLaxO [2, 5, 10, 15 at.%] thin films were grown on glass substrates using the spray pyrolysis technique, to investigate the effect of doping on the structural, morphological, thermoelectric and optical properties of the layers, Also the samples were tested as UV photodetectors and photocatalyst for MB degradation. Firstly, diffraction patterns showed a hexagonal structure, with preferential grain orientation along the (002) direction, for pure ZnO and 2%La_ZnO layers, and at 5 at.% the preferential orientation changes, and crystallite sizes range from 10 nm to 19 nm. However, SEM images reveal that the ZnO and 2%La_ZnO layers are nanorods distributed over their surfaces, and the other 5%LZO, 10%LZO and 15%LZO layers characterized by nanocrystals were hexagonal prisms. The UV–visible analysis of the prepared layers shows high transparency (80–90%) in the visible range, with a constant optical gap of 3.26 eV. Thermoelectric measurements show that the ZnO and LZO layers are non-degenerate, with a maximum charge concentration of 9.18 × 1017 cm− 3 for the 15% LZO films. The thin films show an ability for UV detection, while the 5%La_ZnO layers remain the best for UV photodetection with a good sensitivity (5.07) compared with the other layers. In terms of methyl blue degradation, the 5%La_ZnO thin films had a better degradation of 95%.