Plasma Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposition of HfO2 with Substrate Biasing: Thin Films for High Reflective Mirrors

in: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2022)
Beladiya, Vivek; Faraz, Tahsin; Schmitt, Paul; Munser, Anne-Sophie; Schröder, Sven; Riese, Sebastian; Mühlig, Christian; Schachtler, Daniel; Steger, Fabian; Botha, Roelene; Otto, Felix; Fritz, Torsten; van Helvoirt, Christian; Kessels, Wilhelmus M. M.; Gargouri, Hassan; Szeghalmi, Adriana
Tuning ion energies in plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD) processes enables fine control over the material properties of functional coatings. The growth, structural, mechanical, and optical properties of HfO2 thin films are presented in detail toward photonic applications. The influence of the film thickness and bias value on the properties of HfO2 thin films deposited at 100 °C using tetrakis(dimethylamino)hafnium (TDMAH) and oxygen plasma using substrate biasing is systematically analyzed. The HfO2 films deposited without a substrate bias show an amorphous microstructure with a low density, low refractive index, high incorporation of residual hydroxyl (OH) content, and high residual tensile stress. The material properties of HfO2 films significantly improved at a low bias voltage due to the interaction with oxygen ions accelerated to the film. Such HfO2 films have a higher density, higher refractive index, and lower residual OH incorporation than films without bias. The mechanical stress becomes compressive depending on the bias values. Further increasing the ion energies by applying a larger substrate bias results in a decrease of the film density, refractive index, and a higher residual OH incorporation as well as crystalline inclusions. The comparable material properties of the HfO2 films have been reported using tris(dimethylamino)cyclopentadienyl hafnium (TDMACpH) in a different apparatus, indicating that this approach can be transferred to various systems and is highly versatile. Finally, the substrate biasing technique has been introduced to deposit stress-compensated, crack- and delamination-free high-reflective (HR) mirrors at 355 and 532 nm wavelengths using HfO2 and SiO2 as high and low refractive index materials, respectively. Such mirrors could not be obtained without the substrate biasing during the deposition because of the high tensile stress of HfO2, leading to cracks in thick multilayer systems. An HR mirror for 532 nm wavelength shows a high reflectance of 99.93%, a residual transmittance of ∼530 ppm, and a low absorption of ∼11 ppm, as well as low scattering losses of ∼4 ppm, high laser-induced damage threshold, low mechanical stress, and high environmental stability.

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