Novel strategy for low-temperature, high-rate growth of dense, hard, and stress-free refractory ceramic thin films
2014 (English)In: Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. A. Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films, ISSN 0734-2101, E-ISSN 1520-8559, Vol. 32, no 4, 041515- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Growth of fully dense refractory thin films by means of physical vapor deposition (PVD) requires elevated temperatures T-s to ensure sufficient adatom mobilities. Films grown with no external heating are underdense, as demonstrated by the open voids visible in cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy images and by x-ray reflectivity results; thus, the layers exhibit low nanoindentation hardness and elastic modulus values. Ion bombardment of the growing film surface is often used to enhance densification; however, the required ion energies typically extract a steep price in the form of residual rare-gas-ion-induced compressive stress. Here, the authors propose a PVD strategy for the growth of dense, hard, and stress-free refractory thin films at low temperatures; that is, with no external heating. The authors use TiN as a model ceramic materials system and employ hybrid high-power pulsed and dc magnetron co-sputtering (HIPIMS and DCMS) in Ar/N-2 mixtures to grow dilute Ti1-xTaxN alloys on Si(001) substrates. The Ta target driven by HIPIMS serves as a pulsed source of energetic Ta+/Ta2+ metal-ions, characterized by in-situ mass and energy spectroscopy, while the Ti target operates in DCMS mode (Ta-HIPIMS/Ti-DCMS) providing a continuous flux of metal atoms to sustain a high deposition rate. Substrate bias V-s is applied in synchronous with the Ta-ion portion of each HIPIMS pulse in order to provide film densification by heavy-ion irradiation (m(Ta) = 180.95 amu versus m(Ti) = 47.88 amu) while minimizing Ar+ bombardment and subsequent trapping in interstitial sites. Since Ta is a film constituent, primarily residing on cation sublattice sites, film stress remains low. Dense Ti0.92Ta0.08N alloy films, 1.8 mu m thick, grown with T-s less than= 120 degrees C (due to plasma heating) and synchronized bias, V-s = 160 V, exhibit nanoindentation hardness H = 25.9 GPa and elastic modulus E = 497 GPa compared to 13.8 and 318 GPa for underdense Ti-HIPIMS/Ti-DCMS TiN reference layers (T-s less than 120 degrees C) grown with the same V-s, and 7.8 and 248 GPa for DCMS TiN films grown with no applied bias (T-s less than 120 degrees C). Ti0.92Ta0.08N residual stress is low, sigma = -0.7 GPa, and essentially equal to that of Ti-HIPIMS/Ti-DCMS TiN films grown with the same substrate bias.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Institute of Physics (AIP), 2014. Vol. 32, no 4, 041515- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-109233DOI: 10.1116/1.4884575ISI: 000338718400027OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-109233DiVA: diva2:737183