Engineering disorder in precipitation-based nano-scaled metal oxide thin films

TitleEngineering disorder in precipitation-based nano-scaled metal oxide thin films
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsRupp, JLM, Scherrer, B, Gauckler, LJ
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Pagination11114 - 11124
Date Published2010///

Distinctive microstructure engineering of amorphous to nanocrystalline functional metal oxide thin films for MEMS devices is of high relevance to allow for new applications, quicker response times, and higher efficiencies. Precipitation-based thin-film techniques are first choice. However, these often involve organic solvents in preparation. Their relevance on the disorder states of amorphous to fully crystalline metal oxides is unclear, especially during crystallization. In this study the impact of organic solvents on the as-deposited amorphous state and crystallization of the metal oxide, CeO2, is reported for thin-film preparation via the precipitation-based method spray pyrolysis. The choice of organic solvent for film preparation, i.e. glycols of different chain lengths, clearly affects the structural packing and Raman bond length of amorphous states. Organic residues act as space fillers between the metal oxide molecules in amorphous films and affect strongly the thermal evolvement of microstructure, i.e. microstrain, crystallization enthalpy, crystallographic density, grain size during crystallization and grain growth. Once the material is fully crystalline, equal near-and long-range order characteristics result independent of organic solvent choice. However, the fully crystalline films still show decreased crystallographic densities, presence of microstrain, and lower Raman shifts compared to microcrystalline bulk material. The defect state of amorphous and fully crystalline thin-film microstructures can actively be modified via explicit use of organic glycols with different chain lengths for metal oxide films in MEMS.