Nanoindentation and photoreflectance study on polycrystalline ternary Al–C–N thin films

Ji, A. L.; Ma, L. B.; Liu, C.; Zheng, P.; Li, C. R.; Cao, Z. X.
January 2005
Applied Physics Letters;1/10/2005, Vol. 86 Issue 2, p021918
Academic Journal
Berkovich hardness and optical gap were determined by nanoindentation and photoreflectance measurement for ternary Al–C–N thin films of various compositions along with structural characterization. The deposits were fabricated by reactive magnetron sputtering of aluminum target onto Si(100) substrates, with the mixture of argon, nitrogen, and methane as precursor. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy and selected-area electron diffraction revealed a polycrystalline structure with rich defects in the film, and x-ray diffraction displays only one reflection at 2θ≈36° from the basal planes. The hardness is over 26 GPa for all the deposits, it measures 53.4 GPa in the sample Al47C20N33. The optical gap, defined as the photon energy where (1/R)(dR/dE) maximizes, R is the photoreflectance, lies within 5.2 to 5.6 eV. These results indicate the wide-gap nature of aluminum carbonitrides, implying diverse potential applications of their thin films as protective coating of an ultraviolet detector, dielectric barrier layer in electronics, etc.


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