In the present study, gold oxide (AuOx) and gold-silver oxide (AuAgOx) thin films are deposited by reactive sputtering in a magnetron with unbalanced ratio continuously controlled by the current Istrough an external solenoid. Two film characteristics: the specific electric resistivity ρoof as deposited films and their life-times τ are systematically investigated in dependence of the oxygen gas pressure pO2, magnetron discharge power Pmand solenoid current Is. It is demonstrated that employing optimal regime of ion assistance and gradient sublayers, AuOxand AuAgOxfilms with a high electric resistivity and long life-times (up to 3 years) can be deposited. Incorporation of the more reactive silver atoms into the film structure significantly changes the behavior of AuAgOxfilms as compared to that of AuOxfilms. While the initial electric resistivity and the life-time of AuAgOxfilms monotonously increase with the combined parameter IspO2/Pm, tending to saturation at higher values of this parameter, films of thermodynamically unstable gold oxide with long life-times can be produced within a narrow range of deposition parameters, only. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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