Cuprous oxide (Cu2O) is a p-type semiconductor with high optical absorption and a direct bandgap of about 2.1 eV, making it an attractive material for photovoltaic applications. For a high-performance photovoltaic device, the formation of low-resistivity contacts on Cu2O thin films is a prerequisite, which can be achieved by, for instance, nitrogen doping of Cu2O in order to increase the carrier concentration. In this work, nitrogen-doped p-type Cu2O thin films were prepared on quartz substrates by magnetron sputter deposition. By adding N2 gas during the deposition process, a nitrogen concentration of up to 2.3 × 1021 atoms/cm3 in the Cu2O thin films was achieved, as determined from secondary ion mass spectroscopy measurements. The effect of nitrogen doping on the structural, optical, and electrical properties of the Cu2O thin films was investigated. X-ray diffraction measurements suggest a preservation of the Cu2O phase for the nitrogen doped thin films, whereas spectrophotometric measurements show that the optical properties were not significantly altered by incorporation of nitrogen into the Cu2O matrix. A significant conductivity enhancement was achieved for the nitrogen-doped Cu2O thin films, based on Hall effect measurements, i.e., the hole concentration was increased from 4 × 1015 to 3 × 1019 cm−3 and the resistivity was reduced from 190 to 1.9 Ω⋅cm by adding nitrogen to the Cu2O thin films.
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