Special Issue "Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Antonella Macagnano

Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research – National Research Council (IIA-CNR), Via Salaria km 29,300, Monterotondo 00016 (Rome), Italy
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Interests: chemical nanosensors; electrospinning; smart nanomaterials; composite nanofibers; conductive nanostructured films; optically active nanosensors; environmental monitoring
Guest Editor
Dr. Fabrizio De Cesare

Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-Food and Forest Systems (DIBAF) – University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, 01100, Viterbo, Italy
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Phone: +39-0761-357338
Interests: soil ecosystem; nanotechnologies for soil and crop improvements; chemical sensors; bio-sensors
Guest Editor
Dr. Sara Cavaliere

Institut Charles Gerhardt de Montpellier - UMR 5253 - CNRS/UM/ENSCM - Université de Montpellier, Place Eugène Bataillon CC 1502 - Montpellier, France
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Phone: +33-4-67-14-90-98
Fax: +33-4-67-14-33-04
Interests: nanostructured electrocatalysts and supports, metal thin films, nanocomposite ionomer membranes, polymer and inorganic nanofibers, electrospinning energy conversion and storage, fuel cells, water electrolysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nanostructured thin films have attracted a great deal of interest over the last few decades due to their unique, size-dependent, physicochemical properties. Consequently, they have been exploited as promising materials for a wide range of applications, including smart coating, effective drug delivery systems, electrocatalysis and highly-sensitive sensors. Depending on both the applications and the deposition technique, nanostructured films have been designed and developed by tuning their atomic-molecular 2D- and/or 3D-aggregation, thickness, crystallinity and porosity, as well as their optical, mechanical, catalytic and conductive properties. On the other hand, despite the wide benefits of nanostructures, there are open questions about how nanomaterial production and their daily use might affect the environment and health. Recently, many efforts have been made, not only to prevent nanotechnologies and nanomaterials from contributing to environmental pollution, but also to design nanomaterials aimed at protecting, supporting, and controlling the environment by employing various strategies.

This Special Issue will attempt to cover the recent advances in designing nanostructured films focusing on environmental issues, such as the fabrication processes (e.g., low-power and low-cost technologies, the use of environmentally-friendly solvents), the materials employed (e.g., waste-recycled, bio-based, biodegradable, and natural materials), the functions of thin films (e.g., controlled release of chemicals, mimicking of natural processes, energy conversion and storage), and use in environmental sensors (e.g., optically- or electrically-sensitive to pollutants).

Dr. Antonella Macagnano
Dr. Sara Cavaliere
Dr. Fabrizio De Cesare
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nanomaterials is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • nanostructured thin films
  • low impact processes and materials (environmentally friendly, environmentally sustainable, waste-based, and bio-based)
  • environmental applications
  • controlled release of chemicals or active substances
  • natural processes mimicking
  • (bio)catalytic and electrocatalytic nanomaterials
  • sensors
  • biosensors
  • clean energy
  • energy conversion and energy storage

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Interfacial Model and Characterization for Nanoscale ReB2/TaN Multilayers at Desired Modulation Period and Ratios: First-Principles Calculations and Experimental Investigations
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(6), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8060421
Received: 7 May 2018 / Revised: 2 June 2018 / Accepted: 6 June 2018 / Published: 10 June 2018
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Abstract
The interfacial structure of ReB2/TaN multilayers at varied modulation periods (Λ) and modulation ratios (tReB2:tTaN) was investigated using key experiments combined with first-principles calculations. A maximum hardness of 38.7 GPa occurred at Λ
[...] Read more.
The interfacial structure of ReB2/TaN multilayers at varied modulation periods (Λ) and modulation ratios (tReB2:tTaN) was investigated using key experiments combined with first-principles calculations. A maximum hardness of 38.7 GPa occurred at Λ = 10 nm and tReB2:tTaN = 1:1. The fine nanocrystalline structure with small grain sizes remained stable for individual layers at Λ= 10 nm and tReB2:tTaN = 1:1. The calculation of the interfacial structure model and interfacial energy was performed using the first principles to advance the in-depth understanding of the relationship between the mechanical properties, residual stresses, and the interfacial structure. The B-Ta interfacial configuration was calculated to have the highest adsorption energy and the lowest interfacial energy. The interfacial energy and adsorption energy at different tReB2:tTaN followed the same trend as that of the residual stress. The 9ReB2/21TaN interfacial structure in the B-Ta interfacial configuration was found to be the most stable interface in which the highest adsorption energy and the lowest interfacial energy were obtained. The chemical bonding between the neighboring B atom and the Ta atom in the interfaces showed both covalency and iconicity, which provided a theoretical interpretation of the relationship between the residual stress and the stable interfacial structure of the ReB2/TaN multilayer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle In-Situ Growth of NiAl-Layered Double Hydroxide on AZ31 Mg Alloy towards Enhanced Corrosion Protection
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(6), 411; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8060411
Received: 20 May 2018 / Revised: 1 June 2018 / Accepted: 1 June 2018 / Published: 7 June 2018
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Abstract
NiAl-layered double hydroxide (NiAl-LDH) coatings grown in-situ on AZ31 Mg alloy were prepared for the first time utilizing a facile hydrothermal method. The surface morphologies, structures, and compositions of the NiAl-LDH coatings were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), three dimensional (3D) optical
[...] Read more.
NiAl-layered double hydroxide (NiAl-LDH) coatings grown in-situ on AZ31 Mg alloy were prepared for the first time utilizing a facile hydrothermal method. The surface morphologies, structures, and compositions of the NiAl-LDH coatings were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), three dimensional (3D) optical profilometer, X-ray diffractometer (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FT-IR), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The results show that NiAl-LDH coating could be successfully deposited on Mg alloy substrate using different nickel salts, i.e., carbonate, nitrate, and sulfate salts. Different coatings exhibit different surface morphologies, but all of which exhibit remarkable enhancement in corrosion protection in 3.5 wt % NaCl corrosive electrolyte. When nickel nitrate was employed especially, an extremely large impedance modulus at a low frequency of 0.1 Hz (|Z|f = 0.1 Hz), 11.6 MΩ cm2, and a significant low corrosion current density (jcorr) down to 1.06 nA cm−2 are achieved, demonstrating NiAl-LDH coating’s great potential application in harsh reaction conditions, particularly in a marine environment. The best corrosion inhibition of NiAl-LDH/CT coating deposited by carbonate may partially ascribed to the uniform and vertical orientation of the nanosheets in the coating. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle Self-Catalyzed CdTe Wires
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(5), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8050274
Received: 23 March 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 25 April 2018
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Abstract
CdTe wires have been fabricated via a catalyst free method using the industrially scalable physical vapor deposition technique close space sublimation. Wire growth was shown to be highly dependent on surface roughness and deposition pressure, with only low roughness surfaces being capable of
[...] Read more.
CdTe wires have been fabricated via a catalyst free method using the industrially scalable physical vapor deposition technique close space sublimation. Wire growth was shown to be highly dependent on surface roughness and deposition pressure, with only low roughness surfaces being capable of producing wires. Growth of wires is highly (111) oriented and is inferred to occur via a vapor-solid-solid growth mechanism, wherein a CdTe seed particle acts to template the growth. Such seed particles are visible as wire caps and have been characterized via energy dispersive X-ray analysis to establish they are single phase CdTe, hence validating the self-catalysation route. Cathodoluminescence analysis demonstrates that CdTe wires exhibited a much lower level of recombination when compared to a planar CdTe film, which is highly beneficial for semiconductor applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Laminating Pressure on Polymeric Multilayer Nanofibrous Membranes for Liquid Filtration
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(5), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8050272
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
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Abstract
In the new century, electrospun nanofibrous webs are widely employed in various applications due to their specific surface area and porous structure with narrow pore size. The mechanical properties have a major influence on the applications of nanofiber webs. Lamination technology is an
[...] Read more.
In the new century, electrospun nanofibrous webs are widely employed in various applications due to their specific surface area and porous structure with narrow pore size. The mechanical properties have a major influence on the applications of nanofiber webs. Lamination technology is an important method for improving the mechanical strength of nanofiber webs. In this study, the influence of laminating pressure on the properties of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) nanofibers/laminate was investigated. Heat-press lamination was carried out at three different pressures, and the surface morphologies of the multilayer nanofibrous membranes were observed under an optical microscope. In addition, air permeability, water filtration, and contact angle experiments were performed to examine the effect of laminating pressure on the breathability, water permeability and surface wettability of multilayer nanofibrous membranes. A bursting strength test was developed and applied to measure the maximum bursting pressure of the nanofibers from the laminated surface. A water filtration test was performed using a cross-flow unit. Based on the results of the tests, the optimum laminating pressure was determined for both PAN and PVDF multilayer nanofibrous membranes to prepare suitable microfilters for liquid filtration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle Fabrication of Sericin/Agrose Gel Loaded Lysozyme and Its Potential in Wound Dressing Application
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(4), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8040235
Received: 6 March 2018 / Revised: 24 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
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Abstract
Sericin is a biomaterial resource for its significant biodegradability, biocompatibility, hydrophilicity, and reactivity. Designing a material with superabsorbent, antiseptic, and non-cytotoxic wound dressing properties is advantageous to reduce wound infection and promote wound healing. Herein, we propose an environment-friendly strategy to obtain an
[...] Read more.
Sericin is a biomaterial resource for its significant biodegradability, biocompatibility, hydrophilicity, and reactivity. Designing a material with superabsorbent, antiseptic, and non-cytotoxic wound dressing properties is advantageous to reduce wound infection and promote wound healing. Herein, we propose an environment-friendly strategy to obtain an interpenetrating polymer network gel through blending sericin and agarose and freeze-drying. The physicochemical characterizations of the sericin/agarose gel including morphology, porosity, swelling behavior, crystallinity, secondary structure, and thermal property were well characterized. Subsequently, the lysozyme loaded sericin/agarose composite gel was successfully prepared by the solution impregnation method. To evaluate the potential of the lysozyme loaded sericin/agarose gel in wound dressing application, we analyzed the lysozyme loading and release, antimicrobial activity, and cytocompatibility of the resulting gel. The results showed the lysozyme loaded composite gel had high porosity, excellent water absorption property, and good antimicrobial activities against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Also, the lysozyme loaded gel showed excellent cytocompatibility on NIH3T3 and HEK293 cells. So, the lysozyme loaded sericin/agarose gel is a potential alternative biomaterial for wound dressing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle Scalable Fabrication of High-Performance Transparent Conductors Using Graphene Oxide-Stabilized Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Inks
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(4), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8040224
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 30 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 7 April 2018
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Abstract
Recent development in liquid-phase processing of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) has revealed rod-coating as a promising approach for large-scale production of SWNT-based transparent conductors. Of great importance in the ink formulation is the stabilizer having excellent dispersion stability, environmental friendly and tunable rheology
[...] Read more.
Recent development in liquid-phase processing of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) has revealed rod-coating as a promising approach for large-scale production of SWNT-based transparent conductors. Of great importance in the ink formulation is the stabilizer having excellent dispersion stability, environmental friendly and tunable rheology in the liquid state, and also can be readily removed to enhance electrical conductivity and mechanical stability. Herein we demonstrate the promise of graphene oxide (GO) as a synergistic stabilizer for SWNTs in water. SWNTs dispersed in GO is formulated into inks with homogeneous nanotube distribution, good wetting and rheological properties, and compatible with industrial rod coating practice. Microwave treatment of rod-coated films can reduce GOs and enhance electro-optical performance. The resultant films offer a sheet resistance of ~80 Ω/sq at 86% transparency, along with good mechanical flexibility. Doping the films with nitric acid can further decrease the sheet resistance to ~25 Ω/sq. Comparing with the films fabricated from typical surfactant-based SWNT inks, our films offer superior adhesion as assessed by the Scotch tape test. This study provides new insight into the selection of suitable stabilizers for functional SWNT inks with strong potential for printed electronics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle Metal (Ag/Ti)-Containing Hydrogenated Amorphous Carbon Nanocomposite Films with Enhanced Nanoscratch Resistance: Hybrid PECVD/PVD System and Microstructural Characteristics
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(4), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8040209
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
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Abstract
This study aimed to develop hydrogenated amorphous carbon thin films with embedded metallic nanoparticles (a–C:H:Me) of controlled size and concentration. Towards this end, a novel hybrid deposition system is presented that uses a combination of Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) and Physical
[...] Read more.
This study aimed to develop hydrogenated amorphous carbon thin films with embedded metallic nanoparticles (a–C:H:Me) of controlled size and concentration. Towards this end, a novel hybrid deposition system is presented that uses a combination of Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) and Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) technologies. The a–C:H matrix was deposited through the acceleration of carbon ions generated through a radio-frequency (RF) plasma source by cracking methane, whereas metallic nanoparticles were generated and deposited using terminated gas condensation (TGC) technology. The resulting material was a hydrogenated amorphous carbon film with controlled physical properties and evenly dispersed metallic nanoparticles (here Ag or Ti). The physical, chemical, morphological and mechanical characteristics of the films were investigated through X-ray reflectivity (XRR), Raman spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and nanoscratch testing. The resulting amorphous carbon metal nanocomposite films (a–C:H:Ag and a–C:H:Ti) exhibited enhanced nanoscratch resistance (up to +50%) and low values of friction coefficient (<0.05), properties desirable for protective coatings and/or solid lubricant applications. The ability to form nanocomposite structures with tunable coating performance by potentially controlling the carbon bonding, hydrogen content, and the type/size/percent of metallic nanoparticles opens new avenues for a broad range of applications in which mechanical, physical, biological and/or combinatorial properties are required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Porous Aluminum Oxide and Magnesium Oxide Films Using Organic Hydrogels as Structure Matrices
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(4), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8040186
Received: 25 February 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
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Abstract
We describe the synthesis of mesoporous Al2O3 and MgO layers on silicon wafer substrates by using poly(dimethylacrylamide) hydrogels as porogenic matrices. Hydrogel films are prepared by spreading the polymer through spin-coating, followed by photo-cross-linking and anchoring to the substrate surface.
[...] Read more.
We describe the synthesis of mesoporous Al2O3 and MgO layers on silicon wafer substrates by using poly(dimethylacrylamide) hydrogels as porogenic matrices. Hydrogel films are prepared by spreading the polymer through spin-coating, followed by photo-cross-linking and anchoring to the substrate surface. The metal oxides are obtained by swelling the hydrogels in the respective metal nitrate solutions and subsequent thermal conversion. Combustion of the hydrogel results in mesoporous metal oxide layers with thicknesses in the μm range and high specific surface areas up to 558 m2∙g−1. Materials are characterized by SEM, FIB ablation, EDX, and Kr physisorption porosimetry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle Strongly Iridescent Hybrid Photonic Sensors Based on Self-Assembled Nanoparticles for Hazardous Solvent Detection
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(3), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8030169
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
Facile detection and the identification of hazardous organic solvents are essential for ensuring global safety and avoiding harm to the environment caused by industrial wastes. Here, we present a simple method for the fabrication of silver-coated monodisperse polystyrene nanoparticle photonic structures that are
[...] Read more.
Facile detection and the identification of hazardous organic solvents are essential for ensuring global safety and avoiding harm to the environment caused by industrial wastes. Here, we present a simple method for the fabrication of silver-coated monodisperse polystyrene nanoparticle photonic structures that are embedded into a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) matrix. These hybrid materials exhibit a strong green iridescence with a reflectance peak at 550 nm that originates from the close-packed arrangement of the nanoparticles. This reflectance peak measured under Wulff-Bragg conditions displays a 20 to 50 nm red shift when the photonic sensors are exposed to five commonly employed and highly hazardous organic solvents. These red-shifts correlate well with PDMS swelling ratios using the various solvents, which suggests that the observable color variations result from an increase in the photonic crystal lattice parameter with a similar mechanism to the color modulation of the chameleon skin. Dynamic reflectance measurements enable the possibility of clearly identifying each of the tested solvents. Furthermore, as small amounts of hazardous solvents such as tetrahydrofuran can be detected even when mixed with water, the nanostructured solvent sensors we introduce here could have a major impact on global safety measures as innovative photonic technology for easily visualizing and identifying the presence of contaminants in water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle Enhancing the Microparticle Deposition Stability and Homogeneity on Planer for Synthesis of Self-Assembly Monolayer
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(3), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8030164
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 11 March 2018 / Accepted: 12 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
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Abstract
The deposition stability and homogeneity of microparticles improved with mask, lengthened nozzle and flow rate adjustment. The microparticles can be used to encapsulate monomers, before the monomers in the microparticles can be deposited onto a substrate for nanoscale self-assembly. For the uniformity of
[...] Read more.
The deposition stability and homogeneity of microparticles improved with mask, lengthened nozzle and flow rate adjustment. The microparticles can be used to encapsulate monomers, before the monomers in the microparticles can be deposited onto a substrate for nanoscale self-assembly. For the uniformity of the synthesized nanofilm, the homogeneity of the deposited microparticles becomes an important issue. Based on the ANSYS simulation results, the effects of secondary flow were minimized with a lengthened nozzle. The ANSYS simulation was also used to investigate the ring-vortex generation and why the ring vortex can be eliminated by adding a mask with an aperture between the nozzle and deposition substrate. The experimental results also showed that particle deposition with a lengthened nozzle was more stable, while adding the mask stabilized deposition and diminished the ring-vortex contamination. The effects of flow rate and pressure were also investigated. Hence, the deposition stability and homogeneity of microparticles was improved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of InAlN Nanospiral Structures on the Behavior of Reflected Light Polarization
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(3), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8030157
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
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Abstract
The influence of structural configurations of indium aluminum nitride (InAlN) nanospirals, grown by reactive magnetron sputter epitaxy, on the transformation of light polarization are investigated in terms of varying structural chirality, growth temperatures, titanium nitride (TiN) seed (buffer) layer thickness, nanospiral thickness, and
[...] Read more.
The influence of structural configurations of indium aluminum nitride (InAlN) nanospirals, grown by reactive magnetron sputter epitaxy, on the transformation of light polarization are investigated in terms of varying structural chirality, growth temperatures, titanium nitride (TiN) seed (buffer) layer thickness, nanospiral thickness, and pitch. The handedness of reflected circularly polarized light in the ultraviolet–visible region corresponding to the chirality of nanospirals is demonstrated. A high degree of circular polarization (Pc) value of 0.75 is obtained from a sample consisting of 1.2 μm InAlN nanospirals grown at 650 °C. A film-like structure is formed at temperatures lower than 450 °C. At growth temperatures higher than 750 °C, less than 0.1 In-content is incorporated into the InAlN nanospirals. Both cases reveal very low Pc. A red shift of wavelength at Pc peak is found with increasing nanospiral pitch in the range of 200–300 nm. The Pc decreases to 0.37 for two-turn nanospirals with total length of 0.7 μm, attributed to insufficient constructive interference. A branch-like structure appears on the surface when the nanospirals are grown longer than 1.2 μm, which yields a low Pc around 0.5, caused by the excessive scattering of incident light. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Development of Nanostructured Thin Films)
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