Influence of the electrode materials on the electrical response of ZnO-based contact sensors

Enrico Traversa*, Andrea Bearzotti, Masaru Miyayama, Hiroaki Yanagida

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The sensitivity to CO and H2 of heterocontacts between p-type La2CuO4 and n-type ZnO semiconducting oxides, and the humidity sensitivity of Au/ZnO heterocontacts have been studied. Heterocontacts were prepared by mechanically pressing sintered pellets of the two oxides, or sintered pellets of ZnO and Au sheets. As ohmic electrodes, three different materials were applied on ZnO pellets (Zn-containing Ag, In-and Ga-containing Ag, and Al pastes). This paper reports the influence of the electrode materials used as ohmic contact for ZnO on the chemical sensitive electrical response of both systems. For ZnO pellets with two ohmic electrodes, different resistivities were observed using the various electrode materials. Current-voltage (I-V) characteristics for single ZnO pellets were linear, showing ohmic behaviour. Little chemical sensitivities were observed for ZnO pellets. I-V curves for heterocontacts showed a rectifying character, due to a p-n diode behaviour for La2CuO4/ZnO contacts, and to a Schottky barrier behaviour for Au/ZnO. For both systems, the rectifying character was enhanced in the presence of reducing gases (CO and H2) or humidity, respectively. The chemical response of the heterocontacts, which was due to the La2CuO4/ZnO and Au/ZnO interfaces, was dependent on the electrode materials applied on ZnO pellets, with the same trend for both systems. The greater the resistivity of the ZnO pellets, the larger the sensitivity of the heterocontacts. Slight differences in the potential barrier heights are induced by the different resistivities of the three electrode materials. The larger the band-bending at ZnO/metal or ZnO/p-type semiconducting oxide interfaces, the larger the influence of adsorbates, resulting in increased sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-631
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the European Ceramic Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


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