Potentially, group-Ib elements (Cu, Ag, and Au) incorporated on Zn sites can be used for p-type doping of ZnO, and in the present paper, we use ion implantation to introduce Ag atoms in wurtzite ZnO single crystals. Monitoring the Li behavior, being a residual impurity in the crystals, as a tracer, we demonstrate that Zn interstitials assist the Ag diffusion and lead to Ag pile-up behind the implanted region after annealing above 800 °C. At even higher temperatures, a pronounced Ag loss from the sample surface occurs and concurrently the Ag atoms exhibit a trap-limited diffusion into the crystal bulk with an activation energy of ∼2.6 eV. The dominant traps are most likely Zn vacancies and substitutional Li atoms, yielding substitutional Ag atoms. In addition, formation of an anomalous multipeak Ag distribution in the implanted near-surface region after annealing can be attributed to local implantation-induced stoichiometry disturbances leading to trapping of the Ag atoms by O and Zn vacancies in the vicinity of the surface and in the end-of-range region, respectively.
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