Photonic Characterisation of Indium Tin Oxide as a Function of Deposition Conditions

Samuel F.J. Blair*, Joshua S. Male*, Stuart A. Cavill, Christopher P. Reardon, Thomas F. Krauss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Indium tin oxide (ITO) has recently gained prominence as a photonic nanomaterial, for example, in modulators, tuneable metasurfaces and for epsilon-near-zero (ENZ) photonics. The optical properties of ITO are typically described by the Drude model and are strongly dependent on the deposition conditions. In the current literature, studies often make several assumptions to connect the optically measured material parameters to the electrical properties of ITO, which are not always clear, nor do they necessarily apply. Here, we present a comprehensive study of the structural, electrical, and optical properties of ITO and showed how they relate to the deposition conditions. We use guided mode resonances to determine the dispersion curves of the deposited material and relate these to structural and electrical measurements to extract all relevant material parameters. We demonstrate how the carrier density, mobility, plasma frequency, electron effective mass, and collision frequency vary as a function of deposition conditions, and that the high-frequency permittivity ((Formula presented.)) can vary significantly from the value of (Formula presented.) = 3.9 that many papers simply assume to be a constant. The depth of analysis we demonstrate allows the findings to be easily extrapolated to the photonic characterisation of other transparent conducting oxides (TCOs), whilst providing a much-needed reference for the research area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1990
Number of pages13
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge funding by the EPSRC of the UK under grant number EP/V047663/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • Drude model
  • epsilon-near-zero material
  • guided mode resonance
  • indium tin oxide
  • nanomaterial
  • transparent conducting oxides

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