Structural improvement of zinc oxide films produced by ion beam assisted reactive sputtering

  • Köhl D
  • Luysberg M
  • Wuttig M
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Abstract

Reactively sputtered zinc oxide thin films exhibit low crystalline order
when deposited on unheated substrates. To improve the structural order,
films are usually deposited onto heated substrates at temperatures of
about 200-300 {\deg}C. Nevertheless, techniques that enable room
temperature deposition of ZnO films with high structural quality would
be advantageous. In this work ion bombardment from an auxiliary ion gun
during film growth is employed to improve the crystalline quality.
Xe^{+} ion bombardment under appropriate conditions leads to the
growth of films with high crystalline order. Based on our structural
investigations employing x-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy and
transmission electron microscopy, a growth model is proposed which
explains the impact of ion bombardment on the structural evolution. We
prove that it is especially the nucleation stage of the growth process
which is susceptible to this ion bombardment.

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