A comparative study on NbOx films reactively sputtered from sintered and cold gas sprayed targets

Publication from Materials

Roland Lorenz, Michael O'Sullivan, Alexander Fian, Dietmar Sprenger, Bernhard Lang, Christian Mitterer

Applied Surface Science 436, Pages 1157 -1162, 4/2018


The aim of this work is to evaluate novel cold gas sprayed Nb targets in a reactive sputter deposition process of thin films with respect to the widely used sintered Nb targets. With the exception of a higher target discharge voltage of ∼100 V for the cold gas sprayed targets and the thus higher film growth rate compared to sintered targets, NbOx films with comparable microstructure and properties were obtained for both target variants. The amorphous films with thicknesses between 2.9 and 4.9 μm present an optical shift from dark and non-transparent towards transparent properties, as the oxygen partial pressure increases. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy confirms the occurrence of the Nb5+ oxidation state for the highest oxygen partial pressure, while Nb4+ is additionally present at lower oxygen partial pressure settings. With a maximal transparency of ∼80% and a refractive index of ∼2.5, the transparent films show characteristics similar to Nb2O5.