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Research Highlight | Materials Science Division

Watching films transition as they grow: Smooth film to tiny pyramids

In a study published in Applied Physics Letters, researchers found an unexpected growth mode that transitions In2O3 thin films from a smooth film to tiny pyramids.

Scientific Achievement

Scientists successfully synthesized, stabilized and investigated In2O3 thin films and found an unexpected growth mode that transitions from a smooth film to tiny pyramids

Significance and Impact

Thin In2O3 films offer widespread applications such as transparent electronic conductors; by controlling growth modes, microstructure can be optimized for specific applications.

Research Details

  • RF-magnetron sputtering was used to grow the In2O3 film
  • The film can be made to form tiny nano-pyramids, which were observed using x-ray scattering at sector 12-ID-D of the Advanced Photon Source.
  • Using the hard x-ray nanoprobe beamline 3-ID at NSLS-II, a varied strain state was found within the nano-pyramids.
  • The study shows how the film can be stabilized by changing the rate of the material added to the film during growth.

Work was performed at Argonne and Brookhaven National Laboratories.

DOI: https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1063​/​1​.​4997773

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