Transparent conducting oxide films of heterogeneous dopant distribution

Nanotechnologies : Physical Science Apps

Available for licensing


  • Delia Milliron, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Byung Kim, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering

Background/unmet need

Transparent conducting oxide (TCO) is widely used in modern life for displays, touch panels, solar cells, and smart windows. TCOs should have a large band gap to be transparent, and high mobility and carrier concentation to be conductive. Main group metal (closed d10 orbital) oxides are known as good TCO materials because of their high mobility and large band gap of >3.2 eV. The high carrier concentration is achieved by aliovalent doping to the host metal oxides such as tin doped indium oxide (ITO). However, the inverse relationship between mobility and carrier concentration limits the conductivity of TCO films below certain values.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a concept for fabricating highly conductive TCO films by achieving high mobility while having high carrier concentrations. Nanocomposite films composed of doped/undoped metal oxide show high mobility which are comparable to that of undoped metal oxide, and also show high carrier concentration from the doped region.


  • Overcomes limitation value of conductivity of TCO films
  • All processes are solution-based
  • More cost-effective than commercial sputtering process 


  • TCOs of heterogeneous dopant distributions can be achieved by fabrication of nanocomposite films composed of doped/undoped d10 metal oxide
  • Compositions can be controlled on the nanometer scale to tune both optical and electrical properties
  • Performance can be optimized based on host materials or dopant distributions (transmittance, sheet resistance, refractive index) 

Market potential/applications

Display, touch panel, solar cell, and smart window manufacturers 

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status

  • 1 U.S. patent application filed