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High-efficiency micro-energy generation based on free-carrier-modulated ZnO:N piezoelectric thin films
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The free-carrier-modulated ZnO:N thin film-based flexible nanogenerators (NZTF-FNGs) are proposed and experimentally demonstrated. The suggested flexible nanogenerators (FNGs) are fabricated using N-doped ZnO thin films (NZTFs) as their piezoelectric active elements, which are deposited by a radio frequency magnetron sputtering technique with an N2O reactive gas as an in situ dopant source. Considerable numbers of N atoms are uniformly incorporated into NZTFs overall during their growth, which would enable them to significantly compensate the unintentional background free electron carriers both in the bulk and at the surface of ZnO thin films (ZTFs). This N-doping approach is found to remarkably enhance the performance of NZTF-FNGs, which shows output voltages that are almost two orders of magnitude higher than those of the conventionally grown ZnO thin film-based FNGs. This is believed to be a result of both substantial screening effect suppression in the ZTF bulk and more reliable Schottky barrier formation at the ZTF interfaces, which is all mainly caused by the N-compensatory doping process. Furthermore, the NZTF-FNGs fabricated are verified via charging tests to be suitable for micro-energy harvesting devices.
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