Evolution of the microstructure of sputter deposited TaAlON thin films with increasing oxygen partial pressure
Schalk, N., Saringer, C., Fian, A., Terziyska, V. L., Julin, J., & Tkadletz, M. (2021). Evolution of the microstructure of sputter deposited TaAlON thin films with increasing oxygen partial pressure. Surface and Coatings Technology, 418. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surfcoat.2021.127237
Published inSurface and Coatings Technology
© 2021 the Authors
Recently, quaternary oxynitrides of transition metals and aluminum have attracted increasing interest due to their tunable properties. Within the present work, a series of TaAl(O)N films was sputter deposited using constant nitrogen and varying oxygen partial pressures. The films were grown from single element Ta and Al targets. The deposition parameters were adjusted to obtain a Ta/Al atomic ratio of ~50/50 for the oxygen-free film and were held constant for the following depositions, with the exception of the increasing oxygen partial pressure and compensatory decreasing argon partial pressure. Elastic recoil detection analysis revealed oxygen contents of up to ~26 at.%, while the nitrogen content decreased from ~47 at.% in the oxygen-free film to ~35 at.% in the film with the highest oxygen content, resulting in a significant decrease of the metal/non-metal ratio with increasing oxygen partial pressure. The micro- and bonding structures of the films were investigated by X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. All films exhibited a dominating face-centered cubic TaN-based structure with indications for additional nanocrystalline and amorphous phase fractions in the oxygen containing films. In addition, the mechanical properties were evaluated by nanoindentation, yielding a decreasing hardness and elastic modulus with increasing oxygen content. ...