The influence of substrate temperature and Al mobility on the microstructural evolution of magnetron sputtered ternary Ti-Al-N thin films
2009 (English)In: Journal of Applied Physics, ISSN 0021-8979, E-ISSN 1089-7550, Vol. 106, no 6, 064915- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Ternary Ti-Al-N films were deposited onto Al2O3 (0001) substrates by reactive co‑sputtering from elemental Ti and Al targets and analyzed by in situ and ex situ x-ray scattering, Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy and x-ray photoemission spectroscopy. The deposition parameters were set to values that yield Ti:Al:N ratios of 2:1:1 and 4:1:3 at room temperature. 2TiAlN depositions at 675 °C result in epitaxial Ti2AlN growth with basal planes parallel to the substrate surface. Nominal 4TiAl3N depositions at 675 °C and above, however, yield TiN and Ti2AlN domains due to Al loss to the vacuum. Depositions at a lower temperature of 600 °C yield films with correct 4:1:3 stoichiometry, but Ti4AlN3 formation is supposedly prevented by insufficient adatom mobility. Instead, an incoherent Tin+1AlNn structure with random twinned stacking sequences n is obtained, that exhibits both basal plane orientations parallel as well as nearly perpendicular to the substrate interface. X‑ray photoemission spectroscopy shows that in contrast to stoichiometric nitrides the Al is metallically bonded and hence acts as twinning plane within the Tin+1AlNn stackings. Domains with perpendicular basal plane orientation overgrowth those with parallel ones in a competitive growth mode. The resulting morphology is a combination of smooth‑surfaced parallel basal plane orientation domains interrupted by repeated facetted hillock-like features with perpendicular basal plane orientation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 106, no 6, 064915- p.
National CategoryNatural Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-17107DOI: 10.1063/1.3208065OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-17107DiVA: diva2:201945