Non-drude behavior in indium-tin-oxide nanowhiskers and thin films investigated by transmission and reflection thz time-domain spectroscopy

Chan Shan Yang, Mao Hsiang Lin, Chia Hua Chang, Peichen Yu, Jia Min Shieh, Chang Hong Shen, Osamu Wada, Ci Ling Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


A comparative study of indium-tin-oxide (ITO) nanowhiskers (NWhs) and thin films as transparent conductors in the terahertz frequency range are conducted. We employ both transmission-type and reflection-type terahertz time-domain spectroscopies (THz-TDTS and THz-TDRS) to explore the far-infrared optical properties of these samples. Their electrical properties, such as plasma frequencies and carrier scattering times, are analyzed and found to be fitted well by the Drude-Smith model over 0.1-1.4 THz. Further, structural and crystalline properties of samples are examined by scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction, respectively. Non-Drude behavior of complex conductivities in ITO NWhs is attributed to carrier scattering from grain boundaries and impurity ions. In ITO thin films, however, the observed non-Drude behavior is ascribed to scattering by impurity ions only. Considering NWhs and thin films with the same height, mobility of the former is ∼125 cm 2 V-1 s-1, much larger than those of the ITO thin films, ∼ 27 cm2 V-1 s-1. This is attributed to the longer carrier scattering time of the NWhs. The dc conductivities ∼ 250Ω -1 cm-1 or real conductivities in the THz frequency region of ITO NWhs is, however, lower than those of the ITO thin films ∼ 800Ω -1 cm-1 but adequate for use as electrodes. Partly, this is a reflection of the much higher plasma frequencies of thin films. Significantly, the transmittance of ITO NWhs (≅ 60%-70%) is much higher (≅ 13 times) than those of ITO thin films in the THz frequency range. The underneath basic physics is that the THz radiation can easily propagate through the air-space among NWhs. The superb transmittance and adequate electrical properties of ITO NWhs suggest their potential applications as transparent conducting electrodes in THz devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6547195
Pages (from-to)677-690
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Complex conductivity
  • dielectric function
  • drude-smith model
  • effective medium theory
  • far infrared
  • indium tin oxide
  • nanomaterial
  • optical constants
  • scattering time
  • spectroscopy
  • terahertz

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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