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A Theoretical Study of Piezoelectricity, Phase Stability, and Surface Diffusion in Disordered Multicomponent Nitrides
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6914-9354
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Disordered multicomponent nitride thin film can be used for various applications. The focus of this Licentiate Thesis lies on the theoretical study of piezoelectric properties, phase stability and surface diffusion in multifunctional hard coating nitrides using density functional theory (DFT).

Piezoelectric thin films show great promise for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), such as surface acoustic wave resonators or energy harvesters. One of the main benefits of nitride based piezoelectric devices is the much higher thermal stability compared to the commonly used lead zirconate titanate (PZT) based materials. This makes the nitride based material more suitable for application in, e.g., jet engines.

The discovery that alloying AlN with ScN can increase the piezoelectric response more than 500% due to a phase competition between the wurtzite phase in AlN and the hexagonal phase in ScN, provides a fundamental basis for constructing highly responsive piezoelectric thin films. This approach was utilized on the neighboring nitride binaries, where ScN or YN was alloyed with AlN, GaN, or InN. It established the general role of volume matching the binaries to easily achieve a structural instability in order to obtain a maximum increase of the piezoelectric response. For Sc0.5Ga0.5N this increase is more than 900%, compared to GaN. Y1-xInxN is, however, the most promising alloy with the highest resulting piezoelectric response seconded only by Sc0.5Al0.5N.

Phase stability and lattice parameters (stress-strain states) of the Y1-xAlxN alloy have been calculated in combination with experimental synthesis.

Hard protective coatings based on nitride thin films have been used in industrial applications for a long time. Two of the most successful coatings are TiN and the metastable Ti1-xAlxN. Although these two materials have been extensively investigated both experimentally and theoretically, at the atomic level little is known about Ti1-xAlxN diffusion properties. This is in large part due to problems with configurational disorder in the alloy, because Ti and Al atoms are placed randomly at cation positions in the lattice, considerably increasing the complexity of the problem. To deal with this issues, we have used special quasi-random structure (SQS) models, as well as studying dilute concentrations of Al.

One of the most important mechanisms related to the growth of Ti1-xAlxN is surface diffusion. Because Ti1-xAlxN is a metastable material it has to be grown as a thin film with methods such as physical vapor deposition (PVD), in which surface diffusion plays a pivotal role in determining the microstructure evolution of the film.

In this work, the surface energetics and mobility of Ti and Al adatoms on a disordered Ti0.5Al0.5N(001) surface are studied. Also the effects on the adatom energetics of Ti, Al, and N by the substitution of one Ti with an Al surface atom in TiN(001), TiN(011), and TiN(111) surfaces is studied. This provides an indepth atomistic understanding of how the energetics behind surface diffusion changes as TiN transitions into Ti0.5Al0.5N.

The investigations revealed many interesting results. i) That Ti adatom mobilities are dramatically reduced on the TiN and Ti0.5Al0.5N(001) surfaces while Al adatoms are largely unaffected. ii) The reverse effect is found on the TiN(111) surface, Al adatom migration is reduced while Ti adatom migration is unaffected. iii) The magnetic spin polarization of Ti adatoms is shown to have an important effect on binding energies and diffusion path, e.g., the adsorption energy at bulk sites is increased by 0.14 eV.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. , 48 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1675
Keyword [en]
Piezoelectricity, phase stability, surface diffusion, disordered multicomponent nitrides
National Category
Condensed Matter Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-110363DOI: 10.3384/lic.diva-110363ISBN: 978-91-7519-253-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-110363DiVA: diva2:744892
Presentation
2014-10-03, Plank Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-09-11 Created: 2014-09-09 Last updated: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. YxAl1-xN Thin Films
Open this publication in new window or tab >>YxAl1-xN Thin Films
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2012 (English)In: Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, ISSN 0022-3727, E-ISSN 1361-6463, Vol. 45, no 42, 422001- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Reactive magnetron sputtering was used to deposit YxAl1-xN thin films, 0≤x≤0.22, onto Al2O3(0001) and Si(100) substrates. X-ray diffraction and analytical electron microscopy show that the films are solid solutions. Lattice constants are increasing with Y concentration, in agreement with ab initio calculations. Spectroscopic ellipsometry measurements reveal a band gap decrease from 6.2 eV (x=0) down to 4.9 eV (x=0.22). Theoretical investigations within the special quasirandom structure approach show that the wurtzite structure has the lowest mixingenthalpy for 0≤x≤0.75.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institute of Physics Publishing (IOPP), 2012
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-76472 (URN)10.1088/0022-3727/45/42/422001 (DOI)000309766700001 ()
Note

funding agencies|Linkoping Linnaeus Initiative on Nanoscale Functional Materials (LiLiNFM)||Swedish Research Council (VR)|349-2008-6582|FCT Portugal|SFRH/BPD/66818/2009|VR|2010-3848|Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA)|2011-03486|

Available from: 2012-04-10 Created: 2012-04-10 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Volume matching condition to establish the enhanced piezoelectricity in ternary (Sc,Y)0.5(Al,Ga,In)0.5N alloys
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Volume matching condition to establish the enhanced piezoelectricity in ternary (Sc,Y)0.5(Al,Ga,In)0.5N alloys
2013 (English)In: Physical Review B. Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, ISSN 1098-0121, E-ISSN 1550-235X, Vol. 87, no 9Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recently, ScAlN alloys attracted attention for their giant piezoelectric moduli. In this study the piezoelectric response of the wurtzite group-III nitrides AlN, GaN, and InN mixed with 50 mol% of ScN or YN is investigated using ab initio calculations. We confirm that the energy flattening phenomenon gives rise to the simultaneous appearance of elastic softening and local structural instability, and explains the enhanced piezoelectricity of the alloys. Furthermore, we present a volume matching condition for an efficient search of new piezoelectric materials. It states that alloys in which the parent components show close volume matching exhibit a flatter potential-energy landscape and higher increase of piezoelectric moduli. We suggest YInN, beyond ScAlN, as a promising material for piezoelectric energy harvesting with its enhanced ≈400% piezoelectric moduli.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Physical Society, 2013
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91013 (URN)10.1103/PhysRevB.87.094107 (DOI)000316098600002 ()
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council Linneaus Environment LiLi-NFM||Knut and Alice Wallenberg Scholar LH Grant||Swedish Research Council|621-2011-4426|Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF)|10-0026|

Available from: 2013-04-11 Created: 2013-04-11 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Effect of Al substitution on Ti, Al, and N adatom dynamics on TiN(001), (011), and (111) surfaces
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effect of Al substitution on Ti, Al, and N adatom dynamics on TiN(001), (011), and (111) surfaces
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2014 (English)In: Surface Science, ISSN 0039-6028, E-ISSN 1879-2758, Vol. 630, 28-40 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Substituting Al for Ti in TiN(001), TiN(011), and N- and Ti-terminated TiN(111) surfaces has significant effects on adatom surface energetics which vary strongly with the adatom species and surface orientation. Here, we investigate Ti, Al, and N adatom surface dynamics using density functional methods. We calculate adatom binding and diffusion energies with both a nudged elastic band and grid-probing techniques. The adatom diffusivities are analyzed within a transition-state theory approximation. We determine the stable and metastable Ti, Al, and N binding sites on all three surfaces as well as the lowest energy migration paths. In general, adatom mobilities are fastest on TiN(001), slower on TiN(111), and slowest on TiN(011). The introduction of Al has two major effects on the surface diffusivity of Ti and Al adatoms. First, Ti adatom diffusivity on TiN(001) is significantly reduced near substituted Al surface atoms; we observe a 200% increase in Ti adatom diffusion barriers out of fourfold hollow sites adjacent to Al surface atoms, while Al adatom diffusivity between bulk sites is largely unaffected. Secondly, on TiN(111), the effect is opposite; Al adatoms are slowed near the substituted Al surface atom, while Ti adatom diffusivity is largely unaffected. In addition, we note the importance of magnetic spin polarization on Ti adatom binding energies and diffusion path. These results are of relevance for the atomistic understanding of Ti1-xAlxN alloy and Ti1-xAlxN/TiN multilayer thin-film growth processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Keyword
Diffusion, First principles, Surface diffusion, TiAlN, Titanium nitrides
National Category
Condensed Matter Physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-110351 (URN)10.1016/j.susc.2014.06.010 (DOI)000344435900005 ()
Available from: 2014-09-08 Created: 2014-09-08 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
4. Configurational disorder effects on adatom mobilities on Ti1-xAlxN(001) surfaces from first principles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Configurational disorder effects on adatom mobilities on Ti1-xAlxN(001) surfaces from first principles
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2012 (English)In: Physical Review B. Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, ISSN 1098-0121, E-ISSN 1550-235X, Vol. 85, no 24, 245422- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We use metastable NaCl-structure Ti0.5Al0.5N alloys to probe effects of configurational disorder on adatom surface diffusion dynamics which control phase stability and nanostructural evolution during film growth. First-principles calculations were employed to obtain energy potential maps of Ti and Al adsorption on an ordered TiN(001) reference surface and a disordered Ti0.5Al0.5N(001) solid-solution surface. The energetics of adatom migration on these surfaces are determined and compared to isolate effects of configurational disorder. The results show that alloy surface disorder dramatically reduces Ti adatom mobilities. Al adatoms, in sharp contrast, experience only small disorder-induced differences in migration dynamics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
american physical society, 2012
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-78822 (URN)10.1103/PhysRevB.85.245422 (DOI)000305089700007 ()
Available from: 2012-06-21 Created: 2012-06-21 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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