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Structural and optical characteristics of tantalum oxide grown by pulsed Nd:YAG laser oxidation
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Tantalum pentoxide (Ta2 O5) thin films (20-50 nm) have been grown by 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser oxidation of Ta film deposited on Si. The chemical bonding, structure, and optical properties of the films have been studied by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, and reflectance measurements at normal light incidence in the spectral range of 350-800 nm. The effect of the substrate temperature (250-400 °C) during oxidation and its optimization with respect to the used laser beam energy density (3.2-3.4 J cm2 per pulse) is discussed. It is established that the substrate temperature is a critical factor for the effectiveness of the oxidation process and can be used to control the composition and amorphous status of the films. The film density explored by refractive index is improved with increasing film thickness. The refractive index of the layers grown under the higher laser beam energy density and at substrate temperature of 350-400 °C was found to be close to the value of bulk Ta2 O5. The films are amorphous at substrate temperature below 350 °C and possessed an orthorhombic (Β- Ta2 O5) crystal structure at higher temperatures. The thinner layers crystallize at a little higher temperature.