Advancing Thin Film Research with Nanostructured AZO

Innovnano’s unique and cost-effective AZO sputtering targets for the production of transparent conducting oxides.

Innovnano, an expert manufacturer of high performance ceramic powders, has developed a range of nanostructured AZO (aluminium-doped zinc oxide) specifically for the production of high density sputtering targets. These AZO sputtering targets provide researchers with a highly optimised and cost-effective tool for the development of next generation transparent conducting oxide (TCO) thin films, applicable to numerous research areas ranging from solar cells to conducting glass. Innovnano’s AZO sputtering targets have high electrical conductivity, enhanced mechanical and thermal properties and improved target lifetimes, ideally designed to aid researchers in advancing thin film research.

Innovnano’s unique AZO powders are manufactured using the company’s patented Emulsion Detonation Synthesis (EDS) technology to yield an ultrafine nanostructure, ideal in the production of sputtering targets for the deposition of thin films. The nanostructure of the AZO powder provides a higher surface area, offering increased reactivity and supporting the production of high density sputtering targets at lower sintering temperatures, causing minimal grain growth. Small grain sizes, in combination with the homogeneous microstructure of the AZO targets, are responsible for greatly enhanced mechanical strength, as well as improved plasma stability for uniform thin film deposition.

Optimised grain sizes also deliver a balance between mechanical and thermal properties that enables uniform heat dispersion, resulting in longer target lifetimes and increased cost efficiency. Importantly, Innovnano’s AZO sputtering targets require decreased sputtering times leading to lower production costs, while at the same time offering improved quality. Commenting on their trials of Innovnano’s research grade sputter targets at Loughborough University, Patrick Isherwood, a researcher at the CREST Laboratory commented, “These AZO targets are without doubt the easiest to use of any AZO target we’ve worked with and consistently produce top quality thin films”.

With a range of uses including electronic displays, touchscreen panels, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and photovoltaic cells, TCOs produced by AZO deposition have an extensive array of research applications, spanning a range of sectors. Depending on the end application, Innovnano’s AZO sputtering targets are available with aluminium contents between 0.5 and 2 wt. %, designed to optimise specific properties towards the particular high performance thin film end product.

João Colado, Head of Special Projects at Innovnano explains: “At Innovnano, it is our aim to provide nanostructured materials of the highest quality to fulfil and optimise end product requirements, improving on current technologies of choice. Our AZO sputtering targets are leading the way in the thin film research field, providing an enhanced and more cost-effective alternative for TCO generation than the current metal oxide of choice, indium tin oxide (ITO).”

For more information please visit the Innovnano website,


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