Structural, optical and photoluminescence properties of Eu doped ZnO thin films prepared by spin coating

E. Hasabeldaim, O. M. Ntwaeaborwa, R. E. Kroon, H. C. Swart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Eu3+ doped ZnO thin films were successfully prepared using the spin coating technique. X-ray diffraction confirmed that the undoped films had high crystallinity and preferred orientation along the c-axis, although the crystallinity and the preferred orientation deteriorated with increasing Eu3+ doping concentration. The average particle sizes estimated from atomic force microscopy and the optical band gap of ZnO were found to decrease with increasing Eu3+ concentration. The films were excited at 325 nm using a He-Cd laser and at 464 nm using a Xenon lamp. Upon excitation at 325 nm, the films exhibited band to band emission at ∼378 nm and a broad deep level emission due to defects with a small peak associated with characteristic Eu3+ emission at 614 nm that protruded from the deep level emission. Upon excitation at 464 nm the characteristic Eu3+ emission features were observed and their intensity increased with increasing Eu3+ content, reaching a maximum intensity at 0.6 mol% of Eu3+, and then decreased with a further increase in the Eu3+ concentration. The critical distance associated with quenching was calculated as 1.6 nm, indicating that the multipole-multipole interaction was responsible, although defects created due to the differences in ionic radii and charge states of Eu3+ and Zn2+ would also have contributed to luminescence quenching. Judd-Ofelt intensity parameters (Ω2)and asymmetry ratio analysis revealed the proportional dependency of the Eu3+ emission intensity to the local environment around the Eu3+ ions in the host, where the higher intensity observed at the higher Ω2 and asymmetry ratio values for the sample with 0.6 mol % of Eu3+. Eu3+ ions were successfully incorporated into the ZnO matrix and their effects on the ZnO thin film structure, optical and photoluminescence properties were investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular Structure
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Eu ions
  • Judd-ofelt intensity parameters
  • Photoluminescence
  • Sol-gel
  • Spin coating
  • XRD
  • ZnO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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