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Growth and characterization of novel thin films for microelectronic applications

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I studied the properties of novel Co2FeAl0.5Si0.5 (CFAS), ZnGeAs2, and FeS2 (pyrite) thin films for microelectronic applications ranging from spintronic to photovoltaic. CFAS is a half metal with theoretical spin

I studied the properties of novel Co2FeAl0.5Si0.5 (CFAS), ZnGeAs2, and FeS2 (pyrite) thin films for microelectronic applications ranging from spintronic to photovoltaic. CFAS is a half metal with theoretical spin polarization of 100%. I investigated its potential as a spin injector, for spintronic applications, by studying the critical steps involved in the injection of spin polarized electron populations from tunnel junctions containing CFAS electrodes. Epitaxial CFAS thin films with L21 structure and saturation magnetizations of over 1200 emu/cm3 were produced by optimization of the sputtering growth conditions. Point contact Andreev reflection measurements show that the spin polarization at the CFAS electrode surface exceeds 70%. Analyses of the electrical properties of tunnel junctions with a superconducting Pb counter-electrode indicate that transport through native Al oxide barriers is mostly from direct tunneling, while that through the native CFAS oxide barriers is not. ZnGeAs2 is a semiconductor comprised of only inexpensive and earth-abundant elements. The electronic structure and defect properties are similar in many ways to GaAs. Thus, in theory, efficient solar cells could be made with ZnGeAs2 if similar quality material to that of GaAs could be produced. To understand the thermochemistry and determine the rate limiting steps of ZnGeAs2 thin-film synthesis, the (a) thermal decomposition rate and (b) elemental composition and deposition rate of films were measured. It is concluded that the ZnGeAs2 thin film synthesis is a metastable process with an activation energy of 1.08±0.05 eV for the kinetically-limited decomposition rate and an evaporation coefficient of ~10-3. The thermochemical analysis presented here can be used to predict optimal conditions of ZnGeAs2 physical vapor deposition and thermal processing. Pyrite (FeS2) is another semiconductor that has tremendous potential for use in photovoltaic applications if high quality materials could be made. Here, I present the layer-by-layer growth of single-phase pyrite thin-films on heated substrates using sequential evaporation of Fe under high-vacuum followed by sulfidation at S pressures between 1 mTorr and 1 Torr. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy reveals high-quality, defect-free pyrite grains were produces by this method. It is demonstrated that epitaxial pyrite layer was produced on natural pyrite substrates with this method.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Growth and characterization of pyrite thin films for photovoltaic applications

Description

A series of pyrite thin films were synthesized using a novel sequential evaporation

technique to study the effects of substrate temperature on deposition rate and micro-structure of

the deposited material. Pyrite was

A series of pyrite thin films were synthesized using a novel sequential evaporation

technique to study the effects of substrate temperature on deposition rate and micro-structure of

the deposited material. Pyrite was deposited in a monolayer-by-monolayer fashion using

sequential evaporation of Fe under high vacuum, followed by sulfidation at high S pressures

(typically > 1 mTorr to 1 Torr). Thin films were synthesized using two different growth processes; a

one-step process in which a constant growth temperature is maintained throughout growth, and a

three-step process in which an initial low temperature seed layer is deposited, followed by a high

temperature layer, and then finished with a low temperature capping layer. Analysis methods to

analyze the properties of the films included Glancing Angle X-Ray Diffraction (GAXRD),

Rutherford Back-scattering Spectroscopy (RBS), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM),

Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy (SIMS), 2-point IV measurements, and Hall effect

measurements. Our results show that crystallinity of the pyrite thin film improves and grain size

increases with increasing substrate temperature. The sticking coefficient of Fe was found to

increase with increasing growth temperature, indicating that the Fe incorporation into the growing

film is a thermally activated process.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014