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Ferroelectric lithium niobate surfaces for depositions of metallic nanostructure and ZnO semiconducting thin film

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A distinct characteristic of ferroelectric materials is the existence of a reversible spontaneous polarization with the application of an electric field. The relevant properties ferroelectric lithium niobate surfaces include a

A distinct characteristic of ferroelectric materials is the existence of a reversible spontaneous polarization with the application of an electric field. The relevant properties ferroelectric lithium niobate surfaces include a low density of defects and external screening of the bound polarization charge. These properties result in unique surface electric field distribution with a strong electric field in the vicinity of domain boundaries, while away from the boundaries, the field decreases rapidly. In this work, ferroelectric lithium niobate (LN) is used as a template to direct the assembly of metallic nanostructures via photo-induced reduction and a substrate for deposition of ZnO semiconducting thin films via plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition (PE-ALD). To understand the mechanism the photo-induced deposition process the following effects were considered: the illumination photon energy and intensity, the polarization screening mechanism of the lithium niobate template and the chemical concentration. Depending on the UV wavelength, variation of Ag deposition rate and boundary nanowire formation are observed and attributed to the unique surface electric field distribution of the polarity patterned template and the penetration depth of UV light. Oxygen implantation is employed to transition the surface from external screening to internal screening, which results in depressed boundary nanowire formation. The ratio of the photon flux and Ag ion flux to the surface determine the deposition pattern. Domain boundary deposition is enhanced with a high photon/Ag ion flux ratio while domain boundary deposition is depressed with a low photon/Ag ion flux ratio. These results also support the photo-induced deposition model where the process is limited by carrier generation, and the cation reduction occurs at the surface. These findings will provide a foundational understanding to employ ferroelectric templates for assembly and patterning of inorganic, organic, biological, and integrated structures. ZnO films deposited on positive and negative domain surfaces of LN demonstrate different I-V curve behavior at different temperatures. At room temperature, ZnO deposited on positive domains exhibits almost two orders of magnitude greater conductance than on negative domains. The conductance of ZnO on positive domains decreases with increasing temperature while the conductance of ZnO on negative domains increases with increasing temperature. The observations are interpreted in terms of the downward or upward band bending at the ZnO/LN interface which is induced by the ferroelectric polarization charge. Possible application of this effect in non-volatile memory devices is proposed for future work.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Stress and structure evolution during Cu/Au(111) -(22 x [square root of three]) heteroepitaxy: an in-situ study with UHV-STM (ultra high vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy)

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This research focuses on the stress and structure evolution observed in-situ during the earliest stages of thin film growth in Cu on Au(111)-reconstruction. For the research, an ultra high vacuum-scanning

This research focuses on the stress and structure evolution observed in-situ during the earliest stages of thin film growth in Cu on Au(111)-reconstruction. For the research, an ultra high vacuum-scanning tunneling microscopy (UHV-STM) system was modified to have the additional capabilities of in-situ deposition and in-situ stress evolution monitoring. The design and fabrication processes for the modifications are explained in detail. The deposition source enabled imaging during the deposition of Cu thin films, while also being columnar enough to avoid negatively impacting the function of the microscope. It was found that the stress-induced changes in piezo voltage occurred over a substantially longer time scale and larger piezo scale than used during imaging, allowing for the deconvolution of the two sources of piezo voltage change. The intrinsic stress evolution observed at the onset of Cu growth was tensile in character and reached a maximum of 0.19 N/m at approximately 0.8ML, with an average tensile slope of 1.0GPa. As the film thickness increased beyond 0.8 ML, the stress became less tensile as the observation of disordered stripe and trigon patterns of misfit dislocations began to appear. The transport of atoms from the surface of enlarged Cu islands into the strained layer played an important role in this stage, because they effectively reduce the activation barrier for the formation of the observed surface structures. A rich array of structures were observed in the work presented here including stripe, disordered stripe and trigon patterns co-existing in a single Cu layer. Heteroepitaxial systems in existing literature showed a uniform structure in the single layer. The non-uniform structures in the single layer of this work may be attributed to the room temperature Cu growth, which can kinetically limit uniform pattern formation. The development of the UHV-STM system with additional capabilities for this work is expected to contribute to research for the stress and structure relationships of many other heteroepitaxial systems.

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  • 2012