Coatings, Vol. 12, Pages 31: Investigation of Morphology of Aluminum Co-Doped Scandium Stabilized Zirconia (ScAlSZ) Thin Films

Coatings doi: 10.3390/coatings12010031

Arvaidas Galdikas
Mantas Sriubas
Gediminas Kairaitis
Darius Virbukas
Kristina Bockute
Matas Galdikas
Teresa Moskalioviene
Giedrius Laukaitis

The morphology of aluminum co-doped scandium stabilized zirconia (ScAlSZ) thin films formed by e-beam deposition system was investigated experimentally and theoretically. The dependencies of surface roughness, and the films’ structure on deposition temperature and deposition rate were analyzed. It was shown experimentally that the dependence of the surface roughness on deposition temperature and deposition rate was not monotonic. Those dependencies were analyzed by mathematical modeling. The mathematical model includes the processes of phase separation, adsorption and diffusion process due to the film surface curvature. The impacts of substrate temperature, growth rate on surface roughness of thin films and lateral nanoparticle sizes are shown by the modeling results. Modeling showed that the roughness of the surface of grown films became higher in most cases as the substrate’s temperature rose, but the higher deposition rate resulted in lower surface roughness in most cases. The results obtained by simulations were compared to the relevant experimental data. The non-linear relationships between surface roughness of grown films and lateral size of nanoparticles were also shown by our modeling results, which suggested that the variation in the surface roughness depending on the substrate temperature and growth rate was related to the lateral size of nanoparticles.

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