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There have been a number of studies on the fabrication of Sn-doped gallium oxide (GaO:Sn) films with both conductive and transparent properties using a variety of deposition methods. However, often, synthesis results in films that are not transparent. In this paper, we examine the mechanisms underlying these results in GaO:Sn thin films prepared at various growth temperatures, Sn concentrations, and oxygen partial pressures. With X-ray absorption spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy, we find that when films are grown under the oxygen deficient conditions there are Ga sub-oxide and SnO phases in the GaO:Sn thin film. These Ga sub-oxide phases are only found in non-transparent films, and so we infer that the Ga sub-oxide is responsible for the non-transparency. These observations suggest that to obtain transparent GaO:Sn, films deposition or subsequent annealing must be carefully controlled in both temperature and oxygen partial pressure to avoid the formation of Ga sub-oxide phases.


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