Ion implantation of Zn substituting elements in ZnO has been shown to result in a dramatic Li depletion of several microns in hydrothermally grown ZnO. This has been ascribed to a burst of mobile Zn interstials. In this study, we seek to understand the reason behind this interstitial mediated transient enhanced diffusion in Li-containing ZnO samples after Zn implantation. ZnO wafers were implanted with Zn to two doses, 5 × 1015 cm−2 and 1 × 1017 cm−2. Secondary ion mass spectrometry was carried out to profile the Li depletion depth for different annealing temperatures between 600 and 800 °C. The 800 °C annealing had the most significant Li depletion of close to 60 μm. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was carried out in selected samples to identify the reason behind the Li depletion. In particular, TEM investigations of samples annealed at 750 °C show significant Zn precipitation just below the depth of the projected range of the implanted ions. We propose that the Zn precipitation is indicative of Zn supersaturation. Both the Li depletion and Zn precipitation are competing synchronous processes aimed at reducing the excess Zn interstitials.
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