ABSTRACT Nanosized Co3O4 thin films were prepared on glass substrates by using sol-gel spin coating technique. The effect of annealing temperature (400°C - 700°C) on structural, morphological, electrical and optical properties of Co3O4 thin films were studied by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Electrical conductivity and UV-visible Spectroscopy (UV-Vis). XRD measurements show that all the films are nanocrystallized in the cubic spinel structure and present a random orientation. Six prominent peaks, corresponding to the (111) phase (2θ ≈ 18.90°), (220) phase (2θ ≈ 31.29°), (311) phase (2θ ≈ 36.81°), (222) phase (2θ ≈ 38.54°), (400) phase (2θ ≈ 44.80°), (511) phase (2θ ≈ 59.37°) and (440) phase (2θ ≈ 65.27°) appear on the diffractograms. The crystallite size increases with increasing annealing temperature. These modifications influence the optical properties. The morphology of the sol gel derived Co3O4 shows nanocrystalline grains with some overgrown clusters and it varies with annealing temperature. The optical band gap has been determined from the absorption coefficient. We found that the optical band gap energy decreases from 2.58 eV to 2.07 eV with increasing annealing temperature between 400°C - 700°C. These mean that the optical quality of Co3O4 films is improved by annealing. The dc electrical conductivity of Co3O4 thin films were increased from 10–4 to 10–2 (Ω.cm)–1 with increase in annealing temperature. The electron carrier concentration (n) and mobility (μ) of Co3O4 films annealed at 400°C - 700°C were estimated to be of the order of 2.4 to 4.5 × 1019 cm–3 and 5.2 to 7.0 × 10–5 cm2.V–1.s–1 respectively. It is observed that Co3O4 thin film annealing at 700°C after deposition provide a smooth and flat texture suited for optoelectronic applications.
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