Transparent semiconductor ZnO thin films were spin-coated onto alkali-free glass substrates by a sol-gel process. The influence of ZnO sols synthesized via different solvents (2-ME, EtOH or IPA) on the surface morphologies, microstructures, optical properties and resistivities of the obtained films were investigated. The as-coated films were annealed in ambient air at 500 °C for 1 h. X-ray diffraction results showed all polycrystalline ZnO thin films to have preferred orientation along the (0 0 2) plane. The surface morphologies, optical transmittances and resistivity values of the sol-gel derived ZnO thin films depended on the solvent used. The ZnO thin films synthesized with IPA as the solvent exhibited the highest average transmittance 92.2%, an RMS roughness of 4.52 nm and a resistivity of 1.5 × 105 Ω cm.
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