The optical properties of Ti2AlN and Ti2AlC were determined in the 2-80 eV energy range by electron energy loss spectroscopy and in the visible-ultraviolet range, from 1.6 to 5.5 eV, by spectroscopic ellipsometry. Both experimental techniques are angular resolved and in very good agreement over their overlapping energy range. We observe a dependence of the dielectric function as a function of the crystallographic orientation of the crystals. In particular, we notice a shift of the energy position of the plasmon absorption of Ti2AlC with respect to Ti2AlN. Moreover, a drastic change is also observed in the shape of the dielectric function as a function of the composition (or valence electron concentration). The dielectric functions are fitted to an empirical semiclassic Drude-Lorentz model to obtain physical parameters such as the relaxation times. These microscopic parameters are then used in a macroscopic model to yield the transport properties such as the static conductivity as function of the crystal orientation. Ti 2AlN is found to be a better conductor than Ti2AlC in all orientations, which is consistent with experimental measurements. A comparison of the electrical and optical properties of these two compounds is made in terms of different electronic properties and interband-intraband transitions deduced from our model. © 2008 American Institute of Physics.
2008. Vol. 104, no 2