The effect of the pretreatment of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate on the growth of transparent conducting Ga-doped ZnO (GZO) thin film was investigated. Because of its high gas and moisture absorption and easy gas permeation, PET substrate was annealed at 100 °C in a vacuum chamber prior to the sputtering growth of GZO thin film for the outgassing of impurity gases. GZO thin film was deposited on the pretreated PET substrate by rf-magnetron sputtering and significantly improved electrical properties of GZO thin film was achieved. Electrical and structural characterizations of the GZO thin films were carried out by 4-point probe, Hall measurement, and scanning electron microscopy, and the effects of the pretreatment on the improved properties of GZO thin films were discussed. This result is not only useful to PET substrate, but also could be applicable to other plastic substrates which inevitably containing the moisture and impurity gases.
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