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Reactive magnetron cosputtering of hard and conductive ternary nitride thin films: Ti-Zr-N and Ti-Ta-N

Abstract : Ternary transition metal nitride thin films, with thickness up to 300 nm, were deposited by dc reactive magnetron cosputtering in Ar-N(2) plasma discharges at 300 degrees C on Si substrates. Two systems were comparatively studied, Ti-Zr-N and Ti-Ta-N, as representative of isostructural and nonisostructural prototypes, with the aim of characterizing their structural, mechanical, and electrical properties. While phase-separated TiN-ZrN and TiN-TaN are the bulk equilibrium states, Ti(1-x)Zr(x)N and Ti(1-y)Ta(y)N solid solutions with the Na-Cl (B1-type) structure could be stabilized in a large compositional range (up to x=1 and y=0.75, respectively). Substituting Ti atoms by either Zr or Ta atoms led to significant changes in film texture, microstructure, grain size, and surface morphology, as evidenced by x-ray diffraction, x-ray reflectivity, and scanning electron and atomic force microscopies. The ternary Ti(1-y)Ta(y)N films exhibited superior mechanical properties to Ti(1-x)Zr(x)N films as well as binary compounds, with hardness as high as 42 GPa for y=0.69. All films were metallic, the lowest electrical resistivity rho similar to 65 mu Omega cm being obtained for pure ZrN, while for Ti(1-y)Ta(y)N films a minimum was observed at y similar to 0.3. The evolution of the different film properties is discussed based on microstructrural investigations. (c) 2010 American Vacuum Society.
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Submitted on : Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 9:59:11 AM
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G. Abadias, L. E. Koutsokeras, S. N. Dub, G. N. Tolmachova, A. Debelle, et al.. Reactive magnetron cosputtering of hard and conductive ternary nitride thin films: Ti-Zr-N and Ti-Ta-N. Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A, American Vacuum Society, 2010, 28, pp.541-551. ⟨10.1116/1.3426296⟩. ⟨in2p3-00668107⟩



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