Epitaxial nanocrystalline tin dioxide thin films grown on (0001) sapphire by femtosecond pulsed laser deposition

Dominguez, J. E.; Fu, L.; Pan, X. Q.
July 2001
Applied Physics Letters;7/30/2001, Vol. 79 Issue 5
Academic Journal
Nanocrystalline tin dioxide (SnO[sub 2]) thin films of different thicknesses were fabricated on the (0001) surface of α-Al[sub 2]O[sub 3] (sapphire) using femtosecond pulsed laser deposition. X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis revealed that the microstructure of the films strongly depends on the film thickness. The films with a small thickness (<30 nm) are composed of nanosized columnar (100) oriented grains (3–5 nm in diameter) which grow epitaxially on the substrate with three different in-plane grain orientations. The (101) oriented grains (25 nm in diameter) appear when the film thickness becomes larger than a critical value (about 60 nm). The volume fraction of the (101) grains increases with film thickness. Cross-section TEM studies indicated that the (101) oriented grains nucleate on the top of the (100) oriented nanosized grains and show abnormal grain growth driven by surface energy minimization. As a result, the electrical transport properties are strongly dependent on the film thickness. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.


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