Light-emitting ytterbium-doped tantalum-oxide thin films were prepared using a simple co-sputtering method for the first time. Sharp photoluminescence peaks having a wavelength of around 980 nm were observed from films annealed from 700°C to 1000°C for 10 to 40 min. The strongest intensity of the 980-nm peak was obtained from a film deposited using three ytterbium-oxide pellets and annealed at 800°C for 20 min. Such rare-earth doped tantalum-oxide sputtered films can be used as high-refractive-index materials of autocloned photonic crystals that can be applied to novel light-emitting devices, and they will also be used as both anti-reflection and down-conversion layers for realizing high-efficiency silicon solar cells.
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