Nanostructured Surfaces and Thin Films Synthesis by Physical Vapor Deposition

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Synthesis, Interfaces and Nanostructures".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (21 July 2020) | Viewed by 38410

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Guest Editor
Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Sevilla (ICMS), Seville 41092, Spain
Departamento de Física Aplicada I. Universidad de Sevilla, 41011 Seville, Spain
Interests: nanostructured thin films; oblique angle deposition; magnetron sputtering; nanoporosity; growth simulation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The synthesis of nanostructured surfaces and thin films by means of physical vapor deposition is currently a field of great interest in both scientific and technological aspects. Techniques such as pulsed laser deposition, magnetron sputtering, HiPIMS, or e-beam evaporation, among others, are key for the development of applications in photovoltaic cells, tribological coatings, optofluidic sensors, or biotechnology, to name a few. The nanostructuration of the surface allows for the tailoring of the way a material interacts with the environment, providing a tuning mechanism for its properties, be them optical, mechanical, electrical, tribological, or chemical. Unfortunately, the processes responsible for the formation of a certain nanostructure are, in most of the cases, not known with the sufficient depth to gain such a level of control. It is then necessary to study these nanostructuration mechanisms from both a technological point of view, by creating surfaces with novel nanostructures and applications, and by addressing more fundamental issues so that these processes are better understood.

This Special Issue invites manuscripts that present significant advances concerning both fundamental and applied research topics, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Thin film nanostructuration processes;
  • Nanostructural properties;
  • Anisotropic nanostructured surfaces;
  • Atomistic processes during film synthesis;
  • Simulation of nanostructured surfaces;
  • Applications of nanostructured thin films;
  • Devices.

Dr. Rafael Alvarez
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Thin film growth
  • Nanostructure
  • Nanoporous surface
  • Synthesis methods
  • Physical vapor deposition
  • Surface properties

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 199 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial for Special Issue: Nanostructured Surfaces and Thin Films Synthesis by Physical Vapor Deposition
by Alberto Palmero, German Alcala and Rafael Alvarez
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(1), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11010148 - 9 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1820
Abstract
The scientific interest in the growth of nanostructured surfaces and thin films by means of physical vapor deposition (PVD) techniques has undoubtedly increased in the last decade [...] Full article

Research

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25 pages, 7526 KiB  
Article
Recent Advances in the Development of Nano-Sculpted Films by Magnetron Sputtering for Energy-Related Applications
by Adriano Panepinto and Rony Snyders
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(10), 2039; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10102039 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2902
Abstract
In this paper, we overview the recent progress we made in the magnetron sputtering-based developments of nano-sculpted thin films intended for energy-related applications such as energy conversion. This paper summarizes our recent experimental work often supported by simulation and theoretical results. Specifically, the [...] Read more.
In this paper, we overview the recent progress we made in the magnetron sputtering-based developments of nano-sculpted thin films intended for energy-related applications such as energy conversion. This paper summarizes our recent experimental work often supported by simulation and theoretical results. Specifically, the development of a new generation of nano-sculpted photo-anodes based on TiO2 for application in dye-sensitized solar cells is discussed. Full article
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7 pages, 2449 KiB  
Article
Significant Performance and Stability Improvements of Low-Temperature IGZO TFTs by the Formation of In-F Nanoparticles on an SiO2 Buffer Layer
by Ho-young Jeong, Seung-hee Nam, Kwon-shik Park, Soo-young Yoon, Chanju Park and Jin Jang
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(6), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10061165 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 5134
Abstract
We report the performance improvement of low-temperature coplanar indium–gallium–zinc–oxide (IGZO) thin-film transistors (TFTs) with a maximum process temperature of 230 °C. We treated F plasma on the surface of an SiO2 buffer layer before depositing the IGZO semiconductor by reactive sputtering. The [...] Read more.
We report the performance improvement of low-temperature coplanar indium–gallium–zinc–oxide (IGZO) thin-film transistors (TFTs) with a maximum process temperature of 230 °C. We treated F plasma on the surface of an SiO2 buffer layer before depositing the IGZO semiconductor by reactive sputtering. The field-effect mobility increases from 3.8 to 9.0 cm2 V−1·s−1, and the threshold voltage shift (ΔVth) under positive-bias temperature stress decreases from 3.2 to 0.2 V by F-plasma exposure. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy and atom probe tomography analysis reveal that indium fluoride (In-F) nanoparticles are formed at the IGZO/buffer layer interface. This increases the density of the IGZO and improves the TFT performance as well as its bias stability. The results can be applied to the manufacturing of low-temperature coplanar oxide TFTs for oxide electronics, including information displays. Full article
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16 pages, 5740 KiB  
Article
Effects of Annealing on Characteristics of Cu2ZnSnSe4/CH3NH3PbI3/ZnS/IZO Nanostructures for Enhanced Photovoltaic Solar Cells
by Chzu-Chiang Tseng, Gwomei Wu, Liann-Be Chang, Ming-Jer Jeng, Wu-Shiung Feng, Dave W. Chen, Lung-Chien Chen and Kuan-Lin Lee
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(3), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10030521 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3364
Abstract
This paper presents new photovoltaic solar cells with Cu2ZnSnSe4/CH3NH3PbI3(MAPbI3)/ZnS/IZO/Ag nanostructures on bi-layer Mo/FTO (fluorine-doped tin oxide) glasssubstrates. The hole-transporting layer, active absorber layer, electron-transporting layer, transparent-conductive oxide layer, and top electrode-metal [...] Read more.
This paper presents new photovoltaic solar cells with Cu2ZnSnSe4/CH3NH3PbI3(MAPbI3)/ZnS/IZO/Ag nanostructures on bi-layer Mo/FTO (fluorine-doped tin oxide) glasssubstrates. The hole-transporting layer, active absorber layer, electron-transporting layer, transparent-conductive oxide layer, and top electrode-metal contact layer, were made of Cu2ZnSnSe4, MAPbI3 perovskite, zincsulfide, indium-doped zinc oxide, and silver, respectively. The active absorber MAPbI3 perovskite film was deposited on Cu2ZnSnSe4 hole-transporting layer that has been annealed at different temperatures. TheseCu2ZnSnSe4 filmsexhibitedthe morphology with increased crystal grain sizesand reduced pinholes, following the increased annealing temperature. When the perovskitefilm thickness was designed at 700 nm, the Cu2ZnSnSe4 hole-transporting layer was 160 nm, and the IZO (indium-zinc oxide) at 100 nm, and annealed at 650 °C, the experimental results showed significant improvements in the solar cell characteristics. The open-circuit voltage was increased to 1.1 V, the short-circuit current was improved to 20.8 mA/cm2, and the device fill factor was elevated to 76.3%. In addition, the device power-conversion efficiency has been improved to 17.4%. The output power Pmax was as good as 1.74 mW and the device series-resistance was 17.1 Ω. Full article
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18 pages, 7847 KiB  
Article
Influence of Thickness and Sputtering Pressure on Electrical Resistivity and Elastic Wave Propagation in Oriented Columnar Tungsten Thin Films
by Asma Chargui, Raya El Beainou, Alexis Mosset, Sébastien Euphrasie, Valérie Potin, Pascal Vairac and Nicolas Martin
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(1), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10010081 - 1 Jan 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 4068
Abstract
Tungsten films were prepared by DC magnetron sputtering using glancing angle deposition with a constant deposition angle α = 80°. A first series of films was obtained at a constant pressure of 4.0 × 10−3 mbar with the films’ thickness increasing from [...] Read more.
Tungsten films were prepared by DC magnetron sputtering using glancing angle deposition with a constant deposition angle α = 80°. A first series of films was obtained at a constant pressure of 4.0 × 10−3 mbar with the films’ thickness increasing from 50 to 1000 nm. A second series was produced with a constant thickness of 400 nm, whereas the pressure was gradually changed from 2.5 × 10−3 to 15 × 10−3 mbar. The A15 β phase exhibiting a poor crystallinity was favored at high pressure and for the thinner films, whereas the bcc α phase prevailed at low pressure and for the thicker ones. The tilt angle of the columnar microstructure and fanning of their cross-section were tuned as a function of the pressure and film thickness. Electrical resistivity and surface elastic wave velocity exhibited the highest anisotropic behaviors for the thickest films and the lowest pressure. These asymmetric electrical and elastic properties were directly connected to the anisotropic structural characteristics of tungsten films. They became particularly significant for thicknesses higher than 450 nm and when sputtered particles were mainly ballistic (low pressures). Electronic transport properties, as well as elastic wave propagation, are discussed considering the porous architecture changes vs. film thickness and pressure. Full article
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11 pages, 3993 KiB  
Article
Spatially Resolved Optoelectronic Properties of Al-Doped Zinc Oxide Thin Films Deposited by Radio-Frequency Magnetron Plasma Sputtering Without Substrate Heating
by Eugen Stamate
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10010014 - 19 Dec 2019
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3126
Abstract
Transparent and conducting thin films were deposited on soda lime glass by RF magnetron sputtering without intentional substrate heating using an aluminum doped zinc oxide target of 2 inch in diameter. The sheet resistance, film thickness, resistivity, averaged transmittance and energy band gaps [...] Read more.
Transparent and conducting thin films were deposited on soda lime glass by RF magnetron sputtering without intentional substrate heating using an aluminum doped zinc oxide target of 2 inch in diameter. The sheet resistance, film thickness, resistivity, averaged transmittance and energy band gaps were measured with 2 mm spatial resolution for different target-to-substrate distances, discharge pressures and powers. Hall mobility, carrier concentration, SEM and XRD were performed with a 3 mm spatial resolution. The results reveal a very narrow range of parameters that can lead to reasonable resistivity values while the transmittance is much less sensitive and less correlated with the already well-documented negative effects caused by a higher concentration of oxygen negative ions and atomic oxygen at the erosion tracks. A possible route to improve the thin film properties requires the need to reduce the oxygen negative ion energy and investigate the growth mechanism in correlation with spatial distribution of thin film properties and plasma parameters. Full article
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13 pages, 3838 KiB  
Article
Antibacterial Nanostructured Ti Coatings by Magnetron Sputtering: From Laboratory Scales to Industrial Reactors
by Rafael Alvarez, Sandra Muñoz-Piña, María U. González, Isabel Izquierdo-Barba, Iván Fernández-Martínez, Víctor Rico, Daniel Arcos, Aurelio García-Valenzuela, Alberto Palmero, María Vallet-Regi, Agustín R. González-Elipe and José M. García-Martín
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(9), 1217; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9091217 - 28 Aug 2019
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 3799
Abstract
Based on an already tested laboratory procedure, a new magnetron sputtering methodology to simultaneously coat two-sides of large area implants (up to ~15 cm2) with Ti nanocolumns in industrial reactors has been developed. By analyzing the required growth conditions in a [...] Read more.
Based on an already tested laboratory procedure, a new magnetron sputtering methodology to simultaneously coat two-sides of large area implants (up to ~15 cm2) with Ti nanocolumns in industrial reactors has been developed. By analyzing the required growth conditions in a laboratory setup, a new geometry and methodology have been proposed and tested in a semi-industrial scale reactor. A bone plate (DePuy Synthes) and a pseudo-rectangular bone plate extracted from a patient were coated following the new methodology, obtaining that their osteoblast proliferation efficiency and antibacterial functionality were equivalent to the coatings grown in the laboratory reactor on small areas. In particular, two kinds of experiments were performed: Analysis of bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation, and osteoblasts–bacteria competitive in vitro growth scenarios. In all these cases, the coatings show an opposite behavior toward osteoblast and bacterial proliferation, demonstrating that the proposed methodology represents a valid approach for industrial production and practical application of nanostructured titanium coatings. Full article
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13 pages, 4929 KiB  
Article
Design of Nanoscaled Surface Morphology of TiO2–Ag2O Composite Nanorods through Sputtering Decoration Process and Their Low-Concentration NO2 Gas-Sensing Behaviors
by Yuan-Chang Liang and Yen-Chen Liu
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(8), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9081150 - 11 Aug 2019
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3667
Abstract
TiO2–Ag2O composite nanorods with various Ag2O configurations were synthesized by a two-step process, in which the core TiO2 nanorods were prepared by the hydrothermal method and subsequently the Ag2O crystals were deposited by sputtering [...] Read more.
TiO2–Ag2O composite nanorods with various Ag2O configurations were synthesized by a two-step process, in which the core TiO2 nanorods were prepared by the hydrothermal method and subsequently the Ag2O crystals were deposited by sputtering deposition. Two types of the TiO2–Ag2O composite nanorods were fabricated; specifically, discrete Ag2O particle-decorated TiO2 composite nanorods and layered Ag2O-encapsulated TiO2 core–shell nanorods were designed by controlling the sputtering duration of the Ag2O. The structural analysis revealed that the TiO2–Ag2O composite nanorods have high crystallinity. Moreover, precise control of the Ag2O sputtering duration realized the dispersive decoration of the Ag2O particles on the surfaces of the TiO2 nanorods. By contrast, aggregation of the massive Ag2O particles occurred with a prolonged Ag2O sputtering duration; this engendered a layered coverage of the Ag2O clusters on the surfaces of the TiO2 nanorods. The TiO2–Ag2O composite nanorods with different Ag2O coverage morphologies were used as chemoresistive sensors for the detection of trace amounts of NO2 gas. The NO2 gas-sensing performances of various TiO2–Ag2O composite nanorods were compared with that of pristine TiO2 nanorods. The underlying mechanisms for the enhanced sensing performance were also discussed. Full article
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9 pages, 4272 KiB  
Article
Simultaneous Thermal Stability and Ultrahigh Sensitivity of Heterojunction SERS Substrates
by Lingwei Ma, Jinke Wang, Hanchen Huang, Zhengjun Zhang, Xiaogang Li and Yi Fan
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(6), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9060830 - 31 May 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2888
Abstract
This paper reports the design of Ag-Al2O3-Ag heterojunctions based on Ag nanorods (AgNRs) and their applications as thermally stable and ultrasensitive substrates of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). Specifically, an ultrathin Al2O3 capping layer of 10 nm [...] Read more.
This paper reports the design of Ag-Al2O3-Ag heterojunctions based on Ag nanorods (AgNRs) and their applications as thermally stable and ultrasensitive substrates of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). Specifically, an ultrathin Al2O3 capping layer of 10 nm on top of AgNRs serves to slow down the surface diffusion of Ag at high temperatures. Then, an additional Ag layer on top of the capping layer creates AgNRs-Al2O3-Ag heterojunctions, which lead to giant enhancement of electromagnetic fields within the Al2O3 gap regions that could boost the SERS enhancement. As a result of this design, the SERS substrates are thermally stable up to 200 °C, which has been increased by more than 100 °C compared with bare AgNRs, and their sensitivity is about 400% that of pure AgNRs. This easy yet effective capping approach offers a pathway to fabricate ultrasensitive, thermally stable and easily prepared SERS sensors, and to extend SERS applications for high-temperature detections, such as monitoring in situ the molecule reorientation process upon annealing. Such simultaneous achievement of thermal stability and SERS sensitivity represents a great advance in the design of SERS sensors and will inspire the fabrication of novel hetero-nanostructures. Full article
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Review

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30 pages, 6578 KiB  
Review
In Situ and Real-Time Nanoscale Monitoring of Ultra-Thin Metal Film Growth Using Optical and Electrical Diagnostic Tools
by Jonathan Colin, Andreas Jamnig, Clarisse Furgeaud, Anny Michel, Nikolaos Pliatsikas, Kostas Sarakinos and Gregory Abadias
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(11), 2225; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10112225 - 9 Nov 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3931
Abstract
Continued downscaling of functional layers for key enabling devices has prompted the development of characterization tools to probe and dynamically control thin film formation stages and ensure the desired film morphology and functionalities in terms of, e.g., layer surface smoothness or electrical properties. [...] Read more.
Continued downscaling of functional layers for key enabling devices has prompted the development of characterization tools to probe and dynamically control thin film formation stages and ensure the desired film morphology and functionalities in terms of, e.g., layer surface smoothness or electrical properties. In this work, we review the combined use of in situ and real-time optical (wafer curvature, spectroscopic ellipsometry) and electrical probes for gaining insights into the early growth stages of magnetron-sputter-deposited films. Data are reported for a large variety of metals characterized by different atomic mobilities and interface reactivities. For fcc noble-metal films (Ag, Cu, Pd) exhibiting a pronounced three-dimensional growth on weakly-interacting substrates (SiO2, amorphous carbon (a-C)), wafer curvature, spectroscopic ellipsometry, and resistivity techniques are shown to be complementary in studying the morphological evolution of discontinuous layers, and determining the percolation threshold and the onset of continuous film formation. The influence of growth kinetics (in terms of intrinsic atomic mobility, substrate temperature, deposition rate, deposition flux temporal profile) and the effect of deposited energy (through changes in working pressure or bias voltage) on the various morphological transition thicknesses is critically examined. For bcc transition metals, like Fe and Mo deposited on a-Si, in situ and real-time growth monitoring data exhibit transient features at a critical layer thickness of ~2 nm, which is a fingerprint of an interface-mediated crystalline-to-amorphous phase transition, while such behavior is not observed for Ta films that crystallize into their metastable tetragonal β-Ta allotropic phase. The potential of optical and electrical diagnostic tools is also explored to reveal complex interfacial reactions and their effect on growth of Pd films on a-Si or a-Ge interlayers. For all case studies presented in the article, in situ data are complemented with and benchmarked against ex situ structural and morphological analyses. Full article
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13 pages, 2447 KiB  
Review
Manipulation and Applications of Hotspots in Nanostructured Surfaces and Thin Films
by Xiaoyu Zhao, Jiahong Wen, Aonan Zhu, Mingyu Cheng, Qi Zhu, Xiaolong Zhang, Yaxin Wang and Yongjun Zhang
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(9), 1667; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10091667 - 26 Aug 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2756
Abstract
The synthesis of nanostructured surfaces and thin films has potential applications in the field of plasmonics, including plasmon sensors, plasmon-enhanced molecular spectroscopy (PEMS), plasmon-mediated chemical reactions (PMCRs), and so on. In this article, we review various nanostructured surfaces and thin films obtained by [...] Read more.
The synthesis of nanostructured surfaces and thin films has potential applications in the field of plasmonics, including plasmon sensors, plasmon-enhanced molecular spectroscopy (PEMS), plasmon-mediated chemical reactions (PMCRs), and so on. In this article, we review various nanostructured surfaces and thin films obtained by the combination of nanosphere lithography (NSL) and physical vapor deposition. Plasmonic nanostructured surfaces and thin films can be fabricated by controlling the deposition process, etching time, transfer, fabrication routes, and their combination steps, which manipulate the formation, distribution, and evolution of hotspots. Based on these hotspots, PEMS and PMCRs can be achieved. This is especially significant for the early diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) based on surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and controlling the growth locations of Ag nanoparticles (AgNPs) in nanostructured surfaces and thin films, which is expected to enhance the optical and sensing performance. Full article
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