Nanoscale structure forming processes: Metal thin films grown far-from-equilibrium
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Thin film growth from the vapor phase has for a long time intrigued researchers endeavouring to unravel and understand atomistic surface processes that govern film formation. Their motivation has not been purely scientific, but also driven by numerous applications where this understanding is paramount to knowledge-based design of novel film materials with tailored properties.
Within the above framework, this thesis investigates growth of metal films on weakly bonding substrates, a combination of great relevance for applications concerning e.g., catalysis, graphene metallization and architectural glazing. When metal vapor condenses on weakly bonding substrates three dimensional islands nucleate, grow and coalesce prior to forming a continuous film. The combined effect of these initial growth stages on film formation and morphology evolution is studied using pulsed vapor fluxes for the model system Ag/SiO2. It is shown that the competition between island growth and coalescence completion determines structure evolution. The effect of the initial growth stages on film formation is also examined for the tilted columnar microstructure obtained when vapor arrives at an angle that deviates from the substrate surface normal. This is done using two metals with distinctly different nucleation behaviour, and the findings suggest that the column tilt angle is set by nucleation conditions in conjunction with shadowing of the vapor flux by adjacent islands. Vapor arriving at an angle can in addition result in films that exhibit preferred crystallographic orientations, both out-of-plane and in-plane. Their emergence is commonly described by an evolutionary growth model, which for some materials predict a double in-plane alignment that has not been observed experimentally. Here, an experiment is designed to replicate the model’s growth conditions, confirming the existence of double in-plane alignment.
New and added film functionalities can further be unlocked by alloying. Properties are then largely set by chemistry and atomic arrangement, where the latter can be affected by thermodynamics, kinetics and vapor flux modulation. Their combined effect on atomic arrangement is here unravelled by presenting a research methodology that encompasses high resolution vapor flux modulation, nanoscale structure v vi probes and growth simulations. The methodology is deployed to study the immiscible Ag-Cu and miscible Ag-Au model systems, for which it is shown that capping of Cu by Ag atoms via near surface diffusion processes and rough morphology of the Ag-Au growth front are the decisive structure forming processes in each respective system.
The results generated in this thesis are of relevance for tuning structure of metal films grown on weakly bonding substrates. They also indicate that improved growth models are required to accurately describe structure evolution and emergence of a preferred in-plane orientation in films where vapor arrives at an angle that deviates from the substrate surface normal. In addition, this thesis presents a methodology that can be used to identify and understand structure forming processes in multicomponent films, which may enable tailoring of atomic arrangement and related properties in technologically relevant material systems.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. , 71 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1804
Inorganic Chemistry Other Materials Engineering Other Physics Topics Materials Chemistry Condensed Matter Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-132895DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-132895ISBN: 9789176856390 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-132895DiVA: diva2:1050905
2017-01-20, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 09:15 (English)
Depla, Diederik, Professor
Sarakinos, Kostas, Dr.Boyd, Robert D., Dr.
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